Regional governments in Germany are fighting for the introduction of sugar tax on soft drinks, Source: Depositphotos

These German states fizz up to the idea of soft drink tax

These German states fizz up to the idea of soft drink tax

The claim is that it would save their treasuries 16 billion euros in health bills

Similar to the UK sugar tax, some German states are considering the idea of introducing a levy on soft drinks as a way of improving public health and reducing obesity.

Actually, the idea originated at the country’s Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and already nine states have declared official support for that type of taxation. These are Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Thuringia, Saarland and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. That’s caused a sort of a battle between the different levels of government because within the federal government coalition, the idea of a sugar tax meets opposition from the FDP but it finds support on a regional level.

Tax revenue could subsidize healthy foods

The United Kingdom’s experience with their sugar tax has been considered a success with studies by the University of Cambridge found that five years after its introduction, the tax had prevented 5.000 cases of childhood obesity in young kids.

Some years ago, Germany tried to approach the matter from a different angle by encouraging the manufacturers to voluntarily reduce sugar content in fizzy drinks. This, however, has not led to great results because the content of sugar has been lowered by only 2% since.

According to a study by the Technical University of Munich, a special tax on sugary drinks would save up to 16 billion euros in economic damage over the next 20 years and help prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Six years ago, today's Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said that introducing a sugar tax would only make sense if the additional money raised was used to subsidise healthy food - for example, by reducing the VAT on fresh fruit and vegetables.



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