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Irish public supports a sugar tax on soft drinks

A survey says 52% of the public are in favour of the tax, compared to 46% against.

Image: Soft Drink

MORE THAN HALF of the Irish people support a sugar tax on soft drinks.

That is according to a new poll by IPSOS/MRBI on behalf of the Irish Heart Foundation.

The survey says 52% of the public are in favour of the tax, compared to 46% against, while 87% of the population believe that sugar sweetened drinks contribute to obesity among children and young people.

Barry Dempsey, chief executive of the Irish Heart Foundation, says the survey shows that a tax on sugary drinks is needed.

“These figures clearly demonstrate that Irish people want the Government to take stronger action to tackle childhood obesity and that they understand the role that sugar sweetened drinks have in this developing health crisis.”

The Irish Heart Foundation is calling for a 20% tax on sugary drinks in the Budget this year.

This, they say, would raise in the region of €60 million in extra tax revenue.

In the Budget, the foundation is also asking for funding to be allocated towards subsidies on fruit and vegetables, along with the establishment of a Children’s Health Fund to promote good nutrition through education and skills, as well as providing healthier meals in the country’s schools.

“Sugar sweetened drinks have little or no nutritional value and they are packed with calories. The introduction of a tax to drive down consumption of these beverages seems like a no-brainer to protect our children’ said Dempsey, speaking today at a seminar to consider this measure as one approach to tackle childhood obesity.

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