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06/04/2018: Government introduces soft drinks levy

By virtue of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/41), a sugar tax on soft drinks has been introduced in the UK with effect from 6 April 2018, to encourage leading brands to reduce the amount of sugar in drinks commonly consumed by children and the general public. Qualifying manufacturers will have to register for the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, which will require them to pay a fee per litre in drinks containing 5g or more of sugar per 100ml (there is a higher fee for drinks containing 8g or more per 100ml)..

The levy applies to manufacturers and imposes an 18p tax per litre for drinks containing 5–8g of sugar per 100ml and a 24p tax per litre for drinks containing more than 8g per 100ml. Manufacturers may choose whether to reflect the charge in their prices, and leading brands such as Fanta, Ribena and Lucozade had decreased the sugar content of their drinks.

Some products will be exempt from the fee, including those with a high milk content (due to the benefit of their high calcium content) and drinks which do not contain added sugar, such as pure fruit juices.

Guidance and details of how to register are available from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy page. “Small producers” are not required to register for the levy. A producer is classed as a “Small producer” if all of the following criteria apply:

* you, and anyone connected to you, produced less than one million litres (worldwide) of liable drinks over the past 12 rolling months (including before 6 April 2018);

* you, and anyone connected to you, will not produce over one million


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