In principle, the SNP support the sugar tax as part of a wider effort to reduce childhood obesity, but this measure must be only part of a wider health strategy. The SNP Scottish Government have been focussed on improving health outcomes in Scotland, which is why health spending has increased to a record level under the SNP with Scotland’s health budget rising to a record high of nearly £13 billion this year.
I appreciate the concerns that many retailers and businesses have regarding the impact of the sugar tax on their business. As you may know, the UK Government are currently consulting on the implementation of the tax and I hope that a range of constructive suggestions will be considered around mitigating the impact on businesses, particularly small retailers.
The SNP Government are, of course, fully committed to supporting small business and providing help and support for businesses to thrive. The First Minister of Scotland has recently announced that our Small Business Bonus Scheme will be extended. From next year, 100,000 business premises across Scotland will pay no business rates at all. Furthermore, our new half a billion pound Growth Scheme will offer guarantees and loans to companies seeking to export, expand and create new jobs.