Government accused of ‘playing politics with children’s health’ over plans to delay ban on junk food deals

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Food campaigners have accused the Government of “playing politics with children’s health” after it emerged ministers are planning to delay a ban on promotional deals for junk food.

Boris Johnson intends to postpone a long-awaited ban on “by one get one free” junk food deals as well as the introduction of a 9pm watershed for unhealthy food being advertised, The Times reported.

The Prime Minister wants to delay the measures for at least a year – and may scrap them entirely – in a bid to refocus his policies on cost of living and economic growth.

The PM has come under pressure from his Cabinet and Tory MPs to move away from what they perceive to be “nanny state” policies.

But children’s health campaigners have lamented the delay of policies, which they argue are proven to help families access nutritious food.

Barbara Crowther, from Sustain’s Children’s Food Campaign, said the delay creates uncertainty for companies and urged the Government to prioritise health over politics.

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“Childhood obesity prevalence has spiked sharply over the last 24 months, and millions of families are now struggling to afford healthy and nutritious food. What we needed was faster, not slower action,” she said.

“By delaying and dithering to implement his own obesity strategy and laws that have only just been passed in Parliament, Boris Johnson has instead chosen to play politics with children’s health.”

She said the measures “were developed and tested over years, and fully consulted upon before legislation was passed” and argued the evidence is “clear” multibuy price deals on unhealthy foods do not save people money.

“There is no need for either review and certainly no case for delay. This is a sad day for public health and a severe blow to any hopes of halving childhood obesity by 2030.”



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