The NFRN has reiterated its calls for education rather than regulation in its response to the government’s consultation on the proposed sugar tax.

In its submission, the NFRN has warned that instead of reducing instances of obesity, a tax on sugary soft drinks will only hit hard working independent retailers who are already reeling from higher costs arising from the newly launched National Living Wage, business rates and from complying with the tobacco display ban.

Chief Executive Paul Baxter said: “It has been calculated that the cost on individual independent retailers will be in the region of £8,100 each per year in lost sales as manufacturers pass on their increased costs.  This is a cost that independent retailers cannot absorb and will have to pass onto consumers….hitting the poorest hardest.”

Mr Baxter also warned that sales and revenue losses could ultimately lead to job losses and even shop closures.

The NFRN reminded the government that in Mexico a soft drinks tax only reduced the daily sugar intake by six calories per person.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the UK experience will be any different,” Mr Baxter warned.

Instead, the NFRN said that consumers needed to be better educated into the effects of sugar and the alternatives available.

“Education must cover all aspects of the sugary food and drinks sector, not just soft drinks,” Mr Baxter concluded.

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