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Shares in drinks firms fall after sugar tax announcement

George Osborne announced a sugar tax on soft drinks companies Credit: Lewis Whyld / PA Archive/PA Images

Shares in listed drinks firms dropped sharply on the London stock market after the sugar tax announcement in George Osborne's Budget.

Irn Bru maker AG Barr, which also makes Tizer and St Clement's, fell 4%, while Robinsons squash firm Britvic fell 2% and Vimto maker Nichols dropped as much as 7%.

The tax will be levied against firms that produce sugar-sweetened drinks and brought in in two years' time to give them a chance to drive down their sugar content.

Mr Osborne said some firms "may choose to pass the price onto consumers and that will be their decision, and this would have an impact on consumption too."

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Obesity 'becoming seen as normal', warns medical chief

Being overweight is now seen as normal, according to the Chief Medical Officer Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Being overweight or obese is in danger of becoming seen as normal, the Chief Medical Officer for England has warned.

Dame Sally Davies said she was "increasingly concerned that society may be normalising being overweight".

The Chief Medical Officer said consumption of sugary drinks was contributing to obesity. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Her annual report on the state of the nation's health said excessive consumption of sugar, particularly in soft drinks, was one of the factors behind rising obesity.

Dame Sally is calling on food and drink manufacturers to tweak their products so they have less added sugar.

She also said a 'sugar tax' may need to be considered if the industry's efforts to make products healthier are not successful.