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French parliament votes to levy tax on soft drinks

The tax on sugar and artificial sweeteners will add around 2c to the price of a can. The levy will be used to combat obesity.

Image: PA Archive

THE FRENCH PARLIAMENT has voted to introduce a tax on soft drinks for the first time in the country’s history – pledging to use the proceeds to help fight its rising obesity.

The vote, passed on Friday, will add at least an extra 2c to the price of a standard 330ml can – with the extra revenue being split between payments to agricultural workers and for the government’s healthcare campaigns.

Reuters reports that the tax was ultimately given government backing once the original proposals were amended to levy the tax on diet drinks – a move which won the support of the budget minister, Valerie Pecresse.

The tax has been slammed by the food industry; a statement from the Ania union said the tax would hurt the agriculture sector by over twice the amount the tax would raise.

“How about a tax on future pleasure?” the statement argued.

The tax is expected to bring in around €280m, with analysts saying the average retail price of soft drinks would rise by between 2 and 4 per cent.

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Ireland’s minister for health James Reilly has previously confirmed that the prospect of a similar sugar tax is being considered by a special action group on obesity.

Government considering sugar tax to tackle obesity >

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Gavan Reilly

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