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Will sales fizz? One in five adults say the sugar tax won’t deter them from buying sugary drinks



Ahead of the impending Soft Drinks Industry Levy on 6th April, one in five UK adults (21%) say that potentially paying a little bit extra won’t bother them if they want a sugary drink.

According to survey figures* released today by YouGov and Simplyhealth, the experts behind Denplan payment plans, just over half of the nation (59%) supports the new tax, but a significant number of people would not be deterred by potential price hikes of sugary beverages. In the same survey, 20% of adults admitted they are addicted to sugar.

Nicknamed the ‘sugar tax’, the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is a completely new measure that comes into force on 6th April 2018. Plans for the tax were announced in the Government’s 2016 budget in response to the nation’s alarming levels of obesity and poor oral health.

The tax primarily targets manufacturers and importers of sugary soft drinks and encourages them to adjust their recipes and reduce the levels of sugar in their drinks, thereby avoiding the tax or paying a lower level. However, consumers could also be affected and be forced to pay more for sugary drinks if manufacturers decide to not reformulate their recipes and pass on the tax to consumers.

Under the new levy, drinks with a sugar content over five but below eight grams per 100ml will see 18p added to the price of the drink per litre, and drinks containing over eight grams of sugar per 100ml will face an increase of 24p per litre. 

“It’s encouraging to see that the majority of people support the new levy and understand the urgent need to address the alarming levels of obesity and poor oral health – particularly those of children - in the UK,” said Henry Clover, Chief Dental Officer at Simplyhealth, the experts behind Denplan payment plans. “However it’s concerning that one in five people say they would not be deterred by potential price increases of sugary drinks, suggesting that sugary beverages are seen as a staple item in some people’s daily diets. Sugary drinks are a leading cause of tooth decay and acid erosion and offer little to no nutritional value.”

Encouragingly, 53% of respondents in the survey claimed they don’t drink sugary drinks, and 17% would consider choosing less sugary and potentially less expensive options, of which 10% didn’t like the thought of paying extra and 7% who definitely don’t want to pay extra.

“It will be interesting to observe consumer buying behaviour over the next year as well as seeing how many manufacturers have adjusted their recipes,” says Henry. “Reducing access to high sugar drinks options and encouraging people to choose less sugary options is likely to have a positive effect on the nation’s oral health, particularly in children and young adults. Sugary drinks should always be seen as an occasional treat and only drunk as part of a meal. Water and milk are far more tooth-friendly options.”

The survey also revealed that one in four adults (25%) admit to struggling to understand the sugar content on food and drink packaging labels, highlighting that many people may be unwittingly consuming much higher levels of sugar than they realise. Worryingly, amongst these, only 56% of 18-24 year olds knew that honey is a sugar, and only 41% of the same age group knew that molasses, fruit juice concentrates (44%) and maltose (50%) are also types of sugar.

“Confusion over food and drink labelling and a lack of awareness of the recommended daily limits almost certainly contribute to the nation’s high sugar consumption,” says Henry. “It’s important that manufacturers and retailers make it as easy as possible for consumers to know what they’re purchasing and are transparent with their ingredients and labelling. There is also a role for dental teams and other healthcare professionals to help patients understand the effects of a high sugar diet on their health and help them make more informed choices.”



*Online survey conducted YouGov on behalf of Simplyhealth. Total sample size was 5,264 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th -19th February 2018.  The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


About Simplyhealth:

For 145 years we’ve been helping people to make the most of life through better everyday health.  In 2017, Simplyhealth and Denplan united under one Simplyhealth brand and today we’re proud to be the UK’s leading provider of health cash plans, Denplan dental payment plans and pet health plans.

We help over three million people in the UK access the health and care products, services and support that they need, when they need them and at a price they can afford.

  • 1m health cash plan customers
  • 1.5m patients with a Denplan payment plan
  • 6,500 member dentists
  • 1,900 member vets
  • 879,600 animals covered
  • 11,000 corporate clients

We’re proud to donate 10% of our pre-tax profits to health-related charitable activities every year, and this amounted to over £1 million in 2017. Our Simplyhealth Great Run Series partnership raised an additional £42.6 million for charity.

Simplyhealth is a trading name of Simplyhealth Access, which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.       


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Childhood Obesity Strategy: ‘Oral health overlooked’ says Denplan

Childhood Obesity Strategy: ‘Oral health overlooked’ says Denplan


Following the unveiling of the Government’s long-anticipated Childhood Obesity Strategy, the UK’s leading dental payment plan provider, Denplan, has criticised the plan for overlooking oral health.

“The strategy shows small steps in the right direction but has ultimately been widely slammed by campaigners as being ‘weak’ and ‘watered down’,” says Henry Clover, Chief Dental Officer at Denplan. “Not only does the strategy omit the desired restriction on junk food advertising and multibuy promotions, it was also hugely disappointing to see that childhood tooth decay was only referenced once in the entire report. Although the strategy focuses on obesity, the knock-on effects of implementing tougher sugar restrictions on manufacturers and retailers could only have been positive for our children’s dental health too.”

The strategy fails in the eyes of many health experts, campaigners, and MPs to fully tackle the issue of unhealthy eating habits and does not impose tough enough restrictions on manufacturers and retailers.

Central to the Strategy is the Government’s ‘challenge’ to manufacturers and retailers to voluntarily reduce the sugar content of produce popular with children by 20 percent by 2020, with a five percent reduction in the first year. George Osborne’s already-announced sugar tax on soft drinks was also referenced in the plan, but the expected restrictions on junk food advertising during peak family TV shows and bans on supermarket cut-price promotions on unhealthy foods were ignored.

“It’s fair to say that the long-anticipated Childhood Obesity Strategy was expected to be a lot more robust,” says Henry. “Asking manufacturers and retailers to reduce sugar content on a voluntary basis may not achieve what is needed to both reduce childhood obesity and tooth decay. Far too many children experience tooth decay, and it remains the single most common reason for five to nine year olds in England to be admitted to hospital, with many of those children needing multiple tooth extractions under general anaesthetic.” [1]






About Denplan

Denplan is the UK’s leading dental payment plan specialist, with more than 6,500 member dentists nationwide caring for approximately 1.7 million registered patients. Established in 1986 by two dentists who pioneered the concept of dental payment plans, Denplan has been at the heart of dental care for nearly 30 years and today the company is owned by Simplyhealth. Denplan has a wide range of dental plans for adults and children, enabling patients to budget for their private dental care by spreading the cost through a fixed monthly fee. We support regular attendance and preventive care, reducing the need for clinical intervention and helping patients to maintain healthy teeth and gums for life.


For further information visit For oral health tips and advice visit Patient enquiries telephone: 0800 401 402   Dentist enquiries telephone: 0800 328 3223

  • Denplan Care: all routine and restorative care + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
  • Denplan Essentials: routine care only + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
  • Plans for Children: routine and other agreed care + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
  • Membership Plan: registered with the dentist + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
  • Denplan Emergency: worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover only
  • Company Dental Plans: company funded, voluntary and flexible benefit schemes

Denplan also provides a range of professional services for its member dentists and their practice teams, including the Denplan Quality Programme, Denplan Excel Accreditation Programme and Denplan Training, plus regulatory advice, business and marketing consultancy services and networking opportunities.


For more information about Denplan:

Sara Elliott

Denplan Press Office

Tel: 01962 828 194

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Sugar Tax

Sugar tax

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Recent comment in this post
Anthony Kilcoyne

Sugar Tax + work in progress.....

Yes it was disappointing that Teeth weren't mentioned as a health/prevention benefit too. It's time to put the Mouth back in the ... Read More
Thursday, 24 March 2016 00:40
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Positive news for dentists in the Budget

Positive news for dentists in the Budget


Jon Drysdale of Chartered Financial Planners, PFM Dental, assesses today’s Budget. Headlines may focus on the fragility of the economy and the need to further cut public spending The Chancellor offered positive news on personal finances which could benefit dentists.


·         Higher rate tax threshold to rise from £42,385 to £45,000 in April 2017. The majority of dentists are higher rate tax payers and will therefore feel the benefit. 

·         Many dentists employ their spouse and will take advantage of the tax-free personal allowance to rising to £11,500 also in April 2017. 

·         Annual Isa limit to rise from £15,000 to £20,000. This is a welcome increase to the alternative savings vehicle for those dentists no longer funding personal pensions (due to lifetime and annual allowance limits). 

·         Dentists trading as a limited company will welcome the changes to corporation tax, cut from 20% to 17% by April 2020. This may somewhat offset previously announced increases to dividend tax effective from April. 

·         Reforms to business rates will mean 6,000 small businesses pay no rates and 250,000 have their rates cuts from April 2017. 

·         Dentists buying a practice with a freehold property are likely to be affected by changes to commercial stamp duty – 0% rate on purchases up to £150,000, 2% on next £100,000 and 5% top rate above £250,000. The freehold of a dental practice is often valued at less than £250,000 so this could be an advantage to many buyers. However, buying a larger freehold practice, especially one in the south east, could make you worse off.


The much anticipated changes to personal pensions and tax relief didn't transpire - but we already expected that didn't we?


A more detailed appraisal of the 2016 budget will shortly be available at

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5566 Hits

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