Coca-Cola Enterprises CEO John Brock is hoping for a change in the UKs planned sugar tax

Coca-Cola Enterprises CEO John Brock is hoping for a change in the UK's planned sugar tax

The head of Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has said the UK sugar tax on soft drinks is unlikely to proceed in its current form.

John Brock told an audience of analysts yesterday that "cooler heads will prevail" on the tax, which the UK Government announced last week. He said his company plans to "maintain a very active dialogue" with officials in the country ahead of the tax's implementation in 2018.

"We honestly think that cooler heads will prevail in the cold light of morning and hopefully this will not actually go into play the way it is currently constructed," Brock said at the CAGE 2016 conference in London.

Who will be hit hardest by UK sugar tax? Click here to find out

Britain's Chancellor, George Osborne, announced the new measure last Wednesday, saying sugary drinks are one of the biggest contributors to childhood obesity. As outlined, the tax will have two bands and will be assessed on the volume of sugar-sweetened drinks that companies produce or import.

Pure fruit juices and milk-based drinks are excluded, and Osborne said smaller producers will be exempt.

Brock yesterday said he was "disappointed" with the announcement and maintained that "discriminatory" taxes have been proven ineffective in achieving anything other than raising money for governments.

He said CCE has already reduced calories in its products by 7.5% over the past five years and plans a further 10% cut. 

"We think we have a very active position for a dialogue with the Government on this issue," Brock said.