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Cost of chocolate and some breakfast cereals to jump

Chocolate and sugar-laden breakfast cereals will be affected by the sugar tax from the start of next month, the Government said yesterday. However, drinks with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar will be excluded from the hikes.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said that the addition of the new items was “in alignment with the original consultation feedback, which called for application to a wider set of items”.

She added: “Changes to the tariff code will be made to exclude artificially sweetened drinks from the sugar tax.”

The spokeswoman said that the price of cocoa preparations that contained added sugar would also go up.

The rate of duty on items covered by the tax is 50 per cent. The rate will increase to 75 per cent on April 1.

The spokeswoman said that the tax was introduced to encourage the public to choose healthier options.

She added: “Lowering our sugar consumption is necessary to combat our obesity, diabetes and kidney disease rates, which are driving up healthcare costs untenably.

“Under the new tax, both consumers and businesses would benefit from avoiding sugar-based products.”

The spokeswoman said that the Government “welcomes and encourages” businesses to cater to the public's “increasing demand for healthier alternatives”.

She added: “A market exists for this and more and more products can be seen on many retailer's shelves reflecting the changing mood and tastes of the population.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Finance said that the decision on which items would be added to the list of taxable items was “based on feedback to the original consultation and public dialogue since”.

She added that more than $1.02 million was collected by the Government through the tax in the last quarter of 2018.

The Government did not respond yesterday to questions on how much of the tax would be used to improve public health and where the cash would be spent.

Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, announced in his Budget Statement two weeks ago that a wider selection of items would be taxed from next month.

For a list of items impacted by sugar tax from April, click on the PDF under “Related Media”

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Published March 05, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated March 05, 2019 at 12:50 pm)

Cost of chocolate and some breakfast cereals to jump

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