Elliott issues warning over sugar tax

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Ulster Unionist Member of Parliament Tom Elliott has warned about the ramifications if the Government proceed to levy milk-based soft drinks on the same basis as the soft drinks tax, or more commonly known as the sugar tax.

Mr Elliott said: “I would be hugely concerned if the Government proceeded to extend their levy on sugary soft drinks to milk-based soft drinks. Whilst the Government have no immediate plans to do so, in a report by the Health Committee an official from the Treasury, when talking about the current exclusion of milk-based drinks from the levy, stated “...it does not mean that at some point we could not come back to look at it.”

“This is worrying on a number of fronts. Firstly, there are a range of milk based products on the market, which are a good source of food, especially for children. If we go down this preposterous route of levying milk based products, what sort of message does that send out? That milk is somehow not good for you and that’s why we’re levying it? We should be in the business of incentivising milk, and milk based products for children due to its nutritional value instead of de-incentivising it.

“Also, we have to take cognisance of the issue around milk producers. If a levy is placed on milk products, this could have a negative and even detrimental impact on farmers. With farmers already operating in very tight circumstances, with narrowing profit margins, this potential milk based drinks levy would be a hugely regressive step.”