Sugar tax comes into force

Soft drinks, sweets and other select items will be hit by a 50 per cent hike in duty rates as the first stage of the sugar tax kicks in today.

The tax increases will rise to 75 per cent in April.

Its phased implementation was agreed by legislators in June after complaints from business owners. Michael Dunkley, the former premier and owner of the wholesaler Dunkley’s Dairy, issued a statement yesterday that the tariffs were unlikely to sway consumers and improve health.

Mr Dunkley added that he had declared his interests in the matter, and claimed the price would rise on grocery items to the detriment of small businesses.

According to Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, the tax would not cause a proportional rise in prices.

In Parliament this summer, the minister cited potential rises of 20 to 50 per cent for island-made foods, with bread possibly going up five per cent.

Mr Dunkley called the tax “discriminatory” in its selection of products, and said its exemption for home bakeries “still has not been explained properly”.

Implementing a sugar tax was pledged by the Progressive Labour Party in March 2017, among a raft of tax reforms promised before the July 2017 General Election.

But Mr Dunkley accused the PLP last night of passing “poor” legislation in a “rush to tick the box of election promises”.

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Published Oct 1, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 1, 2018 at 6:44 am)

Sugar tax comes into force

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