France's General Assembly has voted in favour of a tax hike on added sugar soft drinks and a lesser rise on drinks containing sweeteners.

The tax was initially expected to raise EUR120m (US$165m) in revenue annually, but it is expected to raise double this amount after the Assembly backed a higher tax rise. In the light of growing pressure to plug the hole in national finances, the tax will be EUR0.02 per 33cl can.

Assembly members also adopted a new tax on soft drinks with sweetners which will raise additional revenue of EUR40m annually. The taxes will begin on 1 January if, as expected, they are approved by the Senate and French president. 

Ministers have said the revenue generated from the taxes will go towards tackling France's rising obesity rates, as well as contribute to reducing agricultural labour costs.

Food industry body ANIA said: "The two 'beneficiaries' of this tax have no common link at all, therefore rendering it unconstitutional."