An anti-sugar tax group has launched a fresh appeal for new members as it steps up its campaign against the new tax.

The People Against Sugar Tax (PAST) campaign was established in August 2015 in response to the debate about sugar consumption in the media.

But the group intends to step up its efforts to battle the sugar tax when it is implemented in April 2018.

Former chancellor George Osborne introduced the sugar tax not long after the Conservative Party was re-elected in 2015 as a way of raising money to tackle the growing problem of obesity in the UK.

'An unfair tax'

In an exclusive interview, founder and Chief Executive of PAST, Brook Whelan, says 'this is an unfair tax that places a burden on the poorest households in the UK.'

He added: 'At a time when UK wage growth is stagnating, it is wrong that the Government intends to implement another regressive tax.'

PAST has already managed to attract a significant following on Twitter, with 6692 followers.

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They have also issued numerous press releases in different newspapers which include The Daily Telegraph and distributed letters to local newspapers in parts of the country like Newcastle.

PAST has plans for leafleting days in the upcoming summer months. They also intend to hold stalls in town centres during September and October this year.

'Keep the message alive'

Despite this, Mr. Whelan said all efforts so far have failed to translate into sufficient membership numbers to enable the campaign to continue its activities in combating the sugar tax.

He added: 'With Brexit dominating all the headlines at the moment, this issue has been sidetracked, and rightly so as Brexit is a significant issue to deal with, of course.

'But it is important to keep this group's campaign message alive so that the debate does not shift away from the sugar tax completely.'

The PAST CEO said if the group manages to attract a sufficient membership base, they can hold regular social events and start to raise more funds.

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'No difference in fighting obesity'

Mr. Whelan intends to make an appearance at the Conservative, UKIP and Labour Party conferences later this year, which he says are the three parties the group is receiving the most cross-party political support.

Mr. Whelan said the group's support is stretching as far as Australia. This is because other countries intend to copy the UK in implementing a sugar tax to defeat childhood obesity.

But the PAST CEO said this tax will make no difference in tackling childhood obesity as cutting fizzy drink consumption is not the same as ending obesity.

Mr. Whelan said PAST is not a campaign that is funded by industry.

He added: 'We are a grassroots campaign that stands on the side of ordinary people in standing up for our food and soft drinks.'

But Mr. Whelan intends to expand the group's operations to the extent that it will be able to afford permanent staff to manage the campaign.

He has said there are many interested donors in the group as well.

You can follow PAST on Twitter at @AgainstSugarTax.

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Visit PAST's website at www.peopleagainstsugartax.com to find out how to join the group. #The Past