Essay 210 – Special taxes on foods and beverages

GT Writing Task 2 / Essay Sample # 210

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Governments in many countries have recently introduced special taxes on foods and beverages with high levels of sugar. Some think these taxes are a good idea while others disagree.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


Model Answer:

Special taxes have lately been levied on foods and drink products that are high in sugar. The introduction of sugar taxes evokes strong feeling both for and against. In my opinion, however, this has more drawbacks.

Pro-tax advocates consider the sugar tax as a significant measure in the fight against non-communicable diseases. To illustrate, sugar proves to be more hazardous to human beings than saturated fat and is one of the determining factors in developing many diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer to mention but a few. However, price is a major issue in purchase choices, and sugar tax can act as a deterrent, thus helping reduce consumption and preventing these diseases. Moreover, sugar-calorie dense foods and drinks put a burden of high external cost on society. In other words, taxation on sugar-sweetened foods and beverages offers healthcare cost savings.

Opponents, however, claim that there is little evidence that such steps are effective. To start with, simply excising tax on sweet foods and drinks does not automatically guarantee the decline of the consumption of sugar. They go on arguing that consumers of sugary foods and beverages are likely to accept that they have to spend more for the privilege of enjoying their consumption choices, in a similar manner to how smokers continue to indulge in spite of higher taxation on tobacco. Apart from this, unemployment can hit hard workers of the beverage and sugar industries if consumers cut down their consumption. For instance, a study conducted by the think tank worker’s alliance reveals that sugar tax will cause considerable job losses. Most importantly, the sugar tax is regressive too. To put it simply, the tax will take a substantial amount of income from those in the low-income group.

In conclusion, it seems reasonable to put forward the opinion that imposing taxes on sugary foods and beverages have severe consequences in the sense that it can prove to be ineffective, regressive and will cause significant job losses.

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