Boris Johnson ‘playing politics with children’s health’ in junk food U-turn

Boris Johnson has been accused of “enjoying politics with youngsters’s well being” after a authorities U-turn on plans to limit junk meals promoting and multibuy promotions.

The prime minister introduced plans for a crackdown on meals with excessive fats, salt or sugar content material after his personal brush with loss of life from Covid in 2020, which he blamed partially on his personal extreme weight.

However the Division of Well being at present introduced a one-year delay to the proposed ban on buy-one-get-one-free (Bogof) offers for unhealthy meals, in addition to a 9pm watershed for TV advertisements, with rumours in Westminster that the plan will finally be ditched altogether.

Campaigners concern that Mr Johnson has caved in to stress from backbench Tory MPs, who deride the measures as “nanny state” meddling – and who maintain his future of their fingers following the scandal over lockdown-busting events at No 10.

They argue that banning Bogof and three-for-two offers will merely enhance stress on households’ budgets throughout the price of dwelling disaster.

However the Youngsters’s Meals Marketing campaign stated that there was clear proof from years of research that Bogof offers on junk meals don’t save customers cash, however merely drive up the amount of unhealthy merchandise purchased.

The marketing campaign’s Barbara Crowther stated: “Weight problems is spiking and tens of millions of households can’t afford to place correct meals on the desk.

“Multibuy affords make folks spend extra on junk and fewer on wholesome meals. This delay threatens the UK goal to halve childhood weight problems by 2030. Boris is enjoying politics with our youngsters’s well being.”

And Mr Johnson’s personal meals tsar, Leon Eating places founder Henry Dimbleby, informed The Unbiased: “If Bogofs are an answer to the price of dwelling disaster, God assist us.

“If meals firms wish to assist with the price of dwelling they may merely halve the value of junk meals. “They do Bogofs as a result of they know that they enhance the quantity bought and eaten. They enhance family spend. It’s referred to as the ‘consumption impact’ and it’s a part of the fundamental coaching of meals marketeers.”

Caroline Cerny, of the Weight problems Well being Alliance, described the one-year delay as “a surprising U-turn by the federal government that can have extreme ramifications for youngsters’s well being and fatally undermine any additional efforts to handle well being disparities”.

With little one weight problems at a “devastating all-time excessive”, proscribing TV advertisements for junk meals would by itself considerably scale back the variety of youngsters with extreme weight, she stated.

“Massive challenges, like little one weight problems, want daring management, not a authorities that shirks its duty and continues to let unscrupulous meals firms bombard us with promoting and faux bargains on the expense of our well being,” stated Ms Cerny. “We urge Boris Johnson to recollect the promise he made to make it simpler for everybody to be more healthy and reverse this abysmal resolution.”

Saying plans for restrictions on junk meals advertising and marketing in 2020, Mr Johnson stated: “Shedding weight is tough however with some small adjustments we will all really feel fitter and more healthy. If all of us do our bit, we will scale back our well being dangers and defend ourselves towards coronavirus – in addition to taking stress off the NHS.”

He had earlier stated that his spell in intensive care with Covid-19 had made him extra conscious of the necessity to enhance his personal weight loss plan and to train extra.

However he’s identified to have been suggested since by elections guru David Canzini to “get the barnacles off the boat” by dumping insurance policies which don’t match with the core Conservative message he’ll supply within the 2024 basic election.

And the Division of Well being at present stated {that a} one-year delay on multibuy restrictions, which had been because of come into impact from October, would enable the federal government to “evaluation and monitor” their impression on the price of dwelling.

The ban on pre-watershed TV advertisements and paid-for adverts on-line may also be paused for a 12 months till January 2024 because of “a rising recognition that the business wants extra time to arrange”, stated the division.

A clampdown on the position of unhealthy gadgets like sweets at grocery store checkouts and aisle ends will go forward in October this 12 months as deliberate.

Public well being minister Maggie Throup stated: “We’re dedicated to doing every thing we will to assist folks reside more healthy lives. Pausing restrictions on offers like purchase one get one free will enable us to grasp its impression on customers in mild of an unprecedented international financial scenario.”

However Michelle Mitchell, chief govt of Most cancers Analysis UK, stated that delaying the opposite insurance policies was “extremely regarding” and that curbing worth promotions was “one of many insurance policies important to decreasing weight problems, the second-biggest preventable reason behind most cancers”.

The shadow public well being minister Andrew Gwynne stated: “Boris Johnson’s desperation to cling onto his job means the ideology of Conservative MPs is being positioned above youngsters’s well being.

“As a substitute of reducing childhood weight problems, stopping ill-health and easing stress on the NHS, this chaotic authorities is performing one other U-turn.”

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