In May 2017 a representative sample of UK residents were asked whether they are aware that the government is introducing a tax for drinks with a high sugar content.
Three quarters (76%) of all residents were aware of this, although this proportion drops to 66% among those 18-24 and to 63% among those aged 25 to 34. Irrespective of their current awareness of this new approach, there appears to be support for it being extended beyond soft drinks. Approaching six in ten (57%) respondents indicated that the Sugar Tax should also be applied to sweets and other confectionery with high levels of sugar. Among the remainder 27% did not think this should happen and 15% answered don’t know.
Importantly, this support for taxation on food with potential negative health impacts varies by both social class and deprivation levels. Among the AB social group there is majority support (65%) for widening the reach of the Sugar Tax, but among the C2 and D social groups the supportive proportions drop significantly to 51% and 48% respectively. Furthermore, among those from the most deprived quartile of the sample (based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation), a majority disagree with the Sugar Tax being applied to sweets and confectionery (54%, with 36% supporting). These results provide an insight into how taxation based approaches to tackle health inequalities are viewed differently by specific sections of the population.