NEWS that a new sugar tax on the soft drinks industry will be introduced in two years' time as outlined in George Osborne’s 2016 budget, has been welcomed by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

The levy is to be calculated on levels of sugar in sweetened drinks produced and imported, based on two bands, but pure fruit juice and milk-based drinks are to be excluded and small supplies will be exempt.

“This is very welcome news as we aim to have a healthier population. Current levels of obesity are unsustainable and the obesity problem among young people is so bad that the present generation of parents may be the first to bury their children,” said FUW president Glyn Roberts.

“As such we advocate a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and milk has a part to play in that.

“In light of this we welcome that milk-based drinks are excluded from the sugar tax and encourage parents to ensure that their children get to drink the recommended amount of milk per day,” he added.

The union further welcomed that fuel duty is to be frozen for the sixth year in a row as a rise could have a devastating effect on the Welsh farming industry.

“Fuel price rises could have a devastating result for farmers and all the rural communities in general as a car is essential in the countryside with public transport being so poor,” said Mr Roberts.

Commenting on the Capital Gains Tax cut from 28 per cent to 20 percent, and from 18 per cent to 10 per cent for basic-rate taxpayers, FUW director of finance David Parker said: “This is a positive move for any farmers who are selling any or all of their farm.

“We must also welcome the Commercial stamp duty 0 per cent rate on purchases up to £150,000, 2 per cent on the next £100,000 and the 5 per cent top rate above £250,000.

“The young person’s ISA is of importance to self-employed people enabling up to £4,000 per annum. to be saved tax free up to the age of 50 with government adding 25 per cent bonus to savings.

“This is possibly where the wider pensions market will be heading over the next few years with tax relief on the receipt of pensions rather than tax relief at the point of saving.

“This provides a new vehicle for younger self-employed people to commence pension savings aided by the government contribution and it must be welcomed,” he added.