Last Word on Sugar Tax

jaffa cakes 2Pictured on your left are two items – one of which a large percentage of the population needs to buy and use regularly, and the other is a tampon.

Yup, this is the news that UK Prime Minister David Cameron faces a possible Commons defeat over the “tampon tax” as a group of Conservatives prepares to vote with Labour and other opposition parties (such as the SNP) to demand a strategy that will end the VAT on sanitary products.

VAT on sanitary products currently stands at 5 percent, and the attempt to get rid of VAT is led by Labour MP Paula Sheriff, who is tabling an amendment to the finance bill. Cameron has argued that is the EU that sets the rules on VAT and it would be difficult to get them overturned.

An amendment would force the Chancellor George Osborne to set out how he would negotiate the end of VAT on sanitary products.

VAT is a form of consumption tax, or a tax on the purchase price. Jaffa cakes have no VAT because they are classified as cakes, rather than biscuits and cakes are zero-rated. Customs and Excise took this case to tribunal – and lost because the tribunal thought Jaffa cakes “had enough characteristics of cakes to be accepted as such, and they were therefore zero-rated”.

So – Public Health England has called for a sugar tax in a bid to reduce this country’s battle with obesity, as we wrote about on The Diabetes Diet last week.

Jaffa cakes* escape taxes on the purchase price because they are “cakes” (why do cakes get to be zero-rated anyway?), and in the meantime David Cameron drags his heels over working to get rid of the extra money women pay for tampons and sanitary towels on top of having to buy them in the first place.

Crazy old world, hmm?



Ingredients in Jaffa cakes: Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Plain Chocolate (19%) [Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Vegetable Fats (Palm, Sal and/or Shea), Butter Oil (Milk), Cocoa Butter, Emulsifiers (Soya Lecithin, E476), Natural Flavouring], Sugar, Flour (Wheat Flour, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Whole Egg, Water, Dextrose Monohydrate, Concentrated Orange Juice (8% Orange Juice Equivalent), Glucose Syrup, Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Palm), Humectant (Glycerin), Acid (Citric Acid), Gelling Agent (Pectin), Emulsifiers (E471, Soya Lecithin), Raising Agents (Ammonium Bicarbonate, Disodium Diphosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dried Whole Egg, Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrate), Natural Orange Flavouring, Colour (Curcumin).

Yum yum.


Sugar Reduction Report Publication Delayed

sugarThis week, a UK news report revealed that the publication of a health report that called for the imposition of a sugar tax had been delayed.

The report, Sugar Reduction: The Evidence for Action, compiled by Public Health England (a government advisory group) had set out a number of policies which it believes can help tackle the obesity crisis in this country.

The policies included a sugar tax, a crackdown on the marketing of sugary and other unhealthy products to children, and continued action to push the message that most people need to lower their daily sugar intake.

The report was finally published on Thursday afternoon, although it has been originally scheduled for publication in July. The delay was attributed to the Department of Health (which PHE is part of) so that its findings could be used to inform the government’s forthcoming strategy to combat childhood obesity. The news report revealed that Prime Minister David Cameron had not read the report, dismissing a sugar tax out of hand.

The obesity crisis in the UK is thought to cost the NHS some £5.1 billion a year. The report says its suggested policies, including the sugar tax, are needed to reduce the consumption of sugary foods and drinks that are contributing to this crisis. Continue reading “Sugar Reduction Report Publication Delayed”