Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP calls for VAT reduction on health drinks

12.45.57pm BST (GMT +0100) Tue 24th Oct 2006

Fruit drink

Stephen Williams MP (Bristol West, Liberal Democrat) has called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reduce the VAT on pure fruit drinks/smoothies. In a written question to the Paymaster General, Mr. Williams asked what consideration the government had given increasing public health.

Stephen Williams said "Britain as a nation is becoming more obese and the Government needs to do everything in its power to tackle this problem. Pure fruit drinks are a source of nutrition, which all people can benefit from. We need to be encouraging people to become healthier, not dissuading them from purchasing health drinks by charging standard-rate VAT."

Despite Mr. Williams' dedication to increase healthy behaviour, the Government has agreed not to introduce any new zero-rated VAT items, including fruit drinks. Although unprocessed fruit as well as fruit pulp can be zero-rated, smoothies remain in the standard-rate category. Within the new regulations the Government now has the power to reduce VAT rates to as low as 5 per cent.

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