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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

'Thanda matlab Cocacola' - Osborne taxs sugary drinks !

A decade or so ago, - the ad campaign 'Thanda matlab Coca-Cola' made the almost universal rural word for soft drinks a hot catchphrase, and the marketing strategy ensured that villagers slowly turned converted to ‘sugary bottled drinks’ !

An increasing number of youngsters are becoming addicted to caffeine, which is consumed by many in the form of tea and coffee, to kick-start their day.  A study published in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine has revealed that adolescents in Delhi are consuming a high amount of caffeine, which may be prove harmful in the long-run.  The study conducted by Department of Pediatrics, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS) on over 300 schoolchildren in three co-educational schools of the Capital has revealed that 97 per cent of adolescents are consuming 98.2 mg caffeine per day (equivalent to two cans of soda). .. … it is not tea and coffee – but more of bottled drinks – Coke & Pepsi … and they contain high amount of sugar, is greatest cause of worry.

Away in UK, George Osborne has unveiled a Budget he says puts the 'next generation first' as he revealed a sugar tax on soft drinks, a lifetime of tax free savings for the young and £1.5billion for schools.  The Chancellor announced grim figures on economic growth and the public finances and added the independent Office for Budget Responsibility had warned Brexit would only slow the economy.  

Outlining the new sugar tax, Mr Osborne said: 'He said: 'I'm not prepared to look back at my time here in this Parliament doing this job and say to my children's generation: ''I'm sorry, we knew there was a problem with sugary drinks, we knew it caused disease but we ducked the difficult decisions and we did nothing''. 'So today I can announce that we will introduce a new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry. 'It will levied on the companies; it will be introduced in two-years' time to give companies plenty of space to change their product mix.  'It will be assessed on the volume of the sugar, sweet and drinks they produce or import; there will be two bands: one for total sugar content above five grams per 100ml, a second higher band for the most sugary drinks with more than 8 grams per 100ml.'

The sugar tax, which is due to be imposed on the soft drinks industry in two years, was the surprise announcement in the Chancellor's package. The delay is give manufacturers time to change recipes and slash sugar content but the new tax is still expected to raise £500million - money to be ploughed into school sport.  In other major giveaway, Mr Osborne revealed a big rise in the threshold for the 40p income tax rate to £45,000 - lifting half a million people out of the higher rate and saving them £400 a year. Some 31 million earners will benefit from a further rise in the personal allowance to £11,500 from next year.

In his other major announcements, Mr Osborne revealed: £700million in new flood defences for areas hit by the winter storms paid for by an increase to the insurance premium tax.  Hundreds of millions of support for infrastructure projects in the north including motorway upgrades, a new High Speed 3 rail link between Manchester and Leeds and a tunnel under the Pennines. Sweeping reforms to corporation tax which will see the headline rate cut to 17 per cent but loopholes closed to raise £9billion from multinationals. New tax breaks worth £7billion will be handed to small firms and shopkeepers.

Mr Osborne said: 'This is our Budget: one that reaches a surplus so the next generation doesn't have to pay our debts. One that reforms our tax system so that the next generation inherits a strong economy. Other major announcements by Mr Osborne included a freeze on fuel duty - a major concession to his backbench MPs in the face of deep party splits over the EU referendum. Charges for vehicles will be halved from 2018 when the two bridges come back into public ownership, Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Budget. Motorists travelling from England into Wales currently pay £6.60 for cars and £13.20 for vans.

The news for Insurers is : Insurance Premium Tax to rise, adding up to £100 a year to the bill for a home-owning family with two cars, a pet and medical insurance. The money raised will pay for new flood defences.

Gideon Oliver Osborne, is a British Conservative Party politician who has been Chancellor of the Exchequer since 2010 and Member of Parliament (MP) for Tatton since 2001. Osborne worked for The Daily Telegraph before joining the Conservative Research Department and becoming head of its political section. Since becoming Chancellor, Osborne has pursued austerity policies aimed at reducing the United Kingdom national debt.

Launching his reply, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Budget was the 'culmination of six years of failure.' He said: 'It's a recovery built on sand on a Budget of failure. The Treasury has also been ridiculed after it admitted that a tonic water will also be hit by the tax - even though George Osborne's levy is meant to tackle childhood obesity.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th Mar 2016.

PS: largely excerpted from Daily Mail Co UK

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