Questions to Minister for Health: Tax on Sugar Sweetened Drinks

Questions to Minister for Health Leo Varadkar TD, Minister Lynch and HSE in advance of Health and Children Committee meeting 6 October 2015

Letter from Senator van Turnhout to Minister Noonan: Letter to Minister for Finance TaxSSD by Jillian van Turnhout

Senator Jillian Van Turnhout
To ask the Minister for Health if he supports proposals for an additional tax on sugar sweetened drinks in the upcoming Budget and the use of a portion of the funds to promote children’s health initiatives; what actions he has taken to convince the Minister for Finance to implement these proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Minister for Health has recently written to the Minister for Finance recommending the introduction of a 20% levy on sugar sweetened drinks (SSDs) in the proposed Budget for 2016.  The rationale behind this measure is on the grounds of increasing evidence that consumption of SSDs is related to the risk of obesity and that such beverages are a source of high energy yet little or no nutritional value.  The Minister supports the introduction of such a levy as one of a number of public health measures in tackling obesity.  In addition, the Department is currently developing a new Obesity Policy and Action Plan, which will address prevention, treatment and research.