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European Commission clears way for Ireland's sugar tax to start next week

The tax on sugar-sweetened drinks was first announced as part of Budget 2017.

Image: nednapa via Shutterstock

IRELAND HAS GAINED European Commission approval for the much-discussed sugar tax, which is due to come into effect on 1 May.

The tax will see 30 cent per litre added on to sweetened drinks with over eight grams of sugar per 100 millilitres.

That means that many drinks including Coke, 7UP, Pepsi, Monster and Red Bull will go up by the full 30 cent per litre. A can of Coke will go up by 10 cent.

The tax was initially due to come into effect on 6 April, however, Ireland had to push back the date to allow for the completion of the administrative processes in relation to the State aid approval.

The tax on sugar-sweetened drinks was first announced as part of Budget 2017.

Ireland has since engaged in extensive discussions with, and submitted a formal notification to, the European Commission to ensure that once commenced, the tax does not infringe EU State aid law.

It was confirmed today that the European Commission found that the tax does not constitute State aid.

With today’s announcement, the administrative processes are now complete and the sugar tax will commence on 1 May.

“The Department of Health recommended the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks to help reduce rates of overweight and obesity in Ireland. The tax is an important signal to the industry to reformulate their products to reduce the sugar content offered to consumers,” Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said today.

“From the consumer perspective, the imposition of a financial barrier on sugar-sweetened drinks will result in reduced consumption by incentivising individuals to opt for healthier drinks,” he said.

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