Thursday, 17 March 2016

Sugar Tax: Plaid must be feeling vindicated.



Plaid leader Leanne Wood  must be feeling a little smug this morning. 

Its not often that a an opposition Party sees a policy that they have championed adopted by a government  even if there is avast diffrence on how the Tax will be raised . (Manufactures not Consumers).

But since one of Chancellor George Osborne more high-profile announcements was a sugar tax on soft drinks, which will raise £520m for school sports and longer school days.the Plaid leader must have a feeling of vindication.


Plaid called for a Sugar Tax two years ago to be implemented in Wales if we were granted Tax raising powers.

It was largely derided by other Welsh Politicians  until high profile campaigners like Jamie Oliver took up the call on a UK base.

Of course there will be a difference in a UK Tax from what Leanne wanted in  2013

She wrote then
The overall aim is for public health rather than to raise tax revenues. In France, where the tax rate of 7c per litre was introduced, there was an immediate 3.3% sales drop. Using a higher tax rate, closer to that we suggest, academics estimate an elasticity of demand of around 8-10% for soft drinks.
Assuming a full 10% fall in sugared drink consumption, the tax take would be around £65.5m or £55m without fruit juices and smoothies.
The public health effect due to reduced consumption, based on models in the similarly sized Republic of Ireland, would be to reduce obesity by 10,000 people. In total, 15,000 people would no longer be overweight – with all of the related healthcare complications that being obese or overweight create.
Plaid Cymru is committed to the introduction of 1,000 additional doctors to Wales. Currently, Wales has fewer doctors per head than almost every other country in the European Union and fewer than any other country in the UK.
Wales requires a range of doctors – with different grades and specialisms.
Taking the median mid-point pay scale for various types of doctors would give an average wage for a consultant of around £82,000 p.a., general practitioners £70,000 p.a., associate specialists £62,000 and junior doctors around £33,000. There are further on-costs relating to employers’ NI and pension contributions in particular.
Assuming a mix, for example, of 100 consultants, 300 GPs, 200 associate specialists and 400 junior doctors and allowing for 20% for additional on-costs this would be around £66m.


The figures that Osborne anticipate are far less than Plaid would have expected even if the share of the revenue was passed to Wales pro rata and the Tax will be on manufactures not consumers so will not act as much of a deterrent.

But it nevertheless points to a row on how the Tax will be spent. 

Will the money raised by this new tax be passed on the Legislatures of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as a top on to existing grants.

Will we get out fair share even if its far short of what Plaid were expecting to raise? 

And will it be clearly distinctive and not see Westminster cleverly reducing other money from the Welsh Budget.

Of course its not the Money raised that is important but the hope it will improve the health of the Nation whether  your Nation is the UK or Wales.

Still Plaid seem to have a reason to crow though maybe the shenanigans in the Assembly yesterday may take some gloss of it  

1 comment:

  1. Leanne Wood and her Plaid Cymru colleagues can certainly feel vindicated and lets hope the drinks industry take note, but I’m not sure if it will win Plaid any votes in May.

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