Budget 2019- Failure to ringfence sugar tax criticised

By June Shannon Policy News   |   9th Oct 2018

Irish Heart Foundation welcomes tobacco tax hike, but criticises failure to ringfence sugar tax

The Irish Heart Foundation has welcomed the 50 cent increase in the cost of cigarettes announced in today’s (Tuesday, October 11) budget however it said that the failure to ringfence revenue from the sugar sweetened drinks tax to help tackle childhood obesity “lets our children down.”

According to the Irish Heart Foundation, the failure to ringfence the sugar tax called the Government’s commitment to tackle childhood obesity into “serious question” particularly as it has not yet provided any funding for the national obesity plan which was launched more than two years ago.

Responding to the Budget Statement by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, Head of Advocacy at the Irish Foundation Mr Chris Macey said, “The Irish Heart Foundation welcomes the 50-cent increase in tobacco tax. Price increases are the most effective way to discourage smoking, particularly among young people, and have driven a dramatic decrease in teenage smoking rates. The tobacco industry needs an estimated 50 young people to take up smoking every day in Ireland to replace those its products kill or who manage to quit. So, every annual tax increase brings the end of this vile trade in Ireland a little nearer. However, the failure to close the price gap between manufactured cigarettes and much cheaper roll-your-own tobacco through an additional increase on these products is disappointing given their popularity among young people.

"Price increases are the most effective way to discourage smoking, particularly among young people,"

Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy , Irish Heart Foundation

“Meanwhile, the failure to ringfence revenue from the sugar sweetened drinks tax to help tackle childhood obesity represents a failure in the State’s duty of care to children. The Government’s own research estimates that 85,000 of today’s children on the island will die prematurely unless we do more to tackle our obesity crisis.

“This suggests that the levy was never really a health measure at all, but merely a revenue raiser to boost the State coffers. It calls into serious question the Government’s commitment to tackle childhood obesity when it has yet to commit a single cent to resource the national obesity action plan over two years after its launch.”

 

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