Under surprise proposals announced in the Budget, some sports drinks that had previously been zero-rated for VAT will be subject to 20 per cent tax from 1 October.
The Government has also revealed that the consultation on its plans will last only six weeks rather than the standard 12.
Whitehouse has been appointed by the UK Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance to undertake a public affairs and media campaign against the proposals.
The Alliance is warning that the proposals will constitute a ‘health tax’ at a time when the Government is preparing for the Olympics and attempting to tackle the increasing problem of obesity, and that the Treasury’s impact assessment on the proposals is ‘deeply flawed and unrealistic’.
Members of the Alliance include Consumers for Health Choice, MaxiMuscle, CLF, the National Food Manufacturers’ Association and the National Association of Health Stores.
The campaign will be directed by Whitehouse’s managing director Chris Whitehouse.
Whitehouse said: ‘The industry and consumers are very much behind this campaign, and there are some very good reasons why the Treasury needs to reconsider its plans. Adding 20 per cent to the costs of these products could well push consumers towards buying unregulated overseas products over the web, which ultimately will mean less money for the Treasury.’
The Alliance is collecting signatures for an open letter to the Chancellor, calling for the plans to be scrapped. The letter has collected more than 11,000 signatures in five days.