The Spectator

Barometer | 23 March 2016

Also in our Barometer column: ageing populations; stay-at-home towns; growing mountains

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Bottling out

Does any country have experience of a sugary drinks tax?

— Denmark introduced a tax on sweetened soft drinks in the 1930s which by 2013 was being levied at a rate of €0.22 a litre and brought in €60m a year.

— However, the Danish government also estimated that it was losing €38.9m in VAT from illegal soft drink sales.

— In 2011, the government also introduced a fat tax, levied at 16 Kroner (£1.78) on food items with more than 2.3% saturated fat, and planned a more general sugar tax.

— However, the fat tax was abandoned after 15 months when surveys suggested only 7% of Danes had reduced their fat intake. The tax was, however, blamed for 1,300 lost jobs as Danish shoppers crossed to Germany or Sweden. The proposed sugar tax was abandoned and the soft drinks tax abolished, too.

Old wives’ tale

Individuals are living longer, but does that make us an ageing population?

Age in 2011

Population group

0-20

15.5m

21-24

6.7m

30-44

13.3m

45-59

11.4m

60-74

7.8m

75-89

5.9m

90+

0.4m

Source: ONS

Age in 2011

Population 2001

0-20

16m

21-24

7.7m

30-44

12.9m

45-59

12.4m

60-74

9.3m

75-89

4.4m

90+

0.5m

Source: ONS

Places to stay

Where in Britain has fewest passports?

% of population without passport

Blaenau Gwent

1 in 2,320

Great Yarmouth/Anglesey

1 in 101,000

East Lindsey

1 in 116,000

Gwynedd

1 in 200,000

North Norfolk, Bolsover, Moyle

1 in 320,000

Source: ONS

Ain’t no mountain high enough

Ben Nevis was re-measured and found to be 1,345 metres (1m higher than had been thought). Other mountains that grew:

— Mount Everest was measured at 8,840m in 1856, but 8,848m in 1955.

— Before 2002, Mont Blanc was measured at 4,807m. It was put at 4,808.75m last year. The change isn’t just down to accuracy of measurement: the summit is an ice cap, and so its height varies.

And two that shrank:

— Kilimanjaro was measured at 5,895m in 1952, but only 5,888m in 2014.

Snowdon was measured at 1,130m in 1682, shrinking to the current height given in the Ordnance Survey of 1,085m.