Liz Truss could scrap junk food crackdowns in Tory U-turn over war on obesity
Liz Truss could scrap crackdowns on junk food in a Tory U-turn that campaigners warn would be a “kick in the teeth”.
The Treasury has commissioned an “internal summary” of its anti-obesity measures in a drive to cut red tape in the cost-of-living crisis.
While the timetable and scope is being kept under wraps, it is understood the move that could lead to junk food policies being cancelled or revoked.
It is likely to examine the pledge to end buy-one-get-one-free and ‘3 for 2’ supermarket deals on unhealthy food and drink in October 2023 - already delayed by a year thanks to Boris Johnson.
It could also review a January 2024 ban on junk food TV ads before the 9pm watershed and online, which was also already delayed.
The review could reportedly go further - and lead to Tory ministers cancelling fat-fighting measures that are already in place, like calorie counts on menus and the 2018 sugar tax.
Restrictions on putting high-fat, salt or sugar products at checkouts, entrances and the end of aisles were also due to kick in this October.
The Obesity Health Alliance told the Guardian removing obesity crackdowns would be “a kick in the teeth”, adding: “We are deeply concerned.
“It would be reckless to waste government and business time and money rowing back on these obesity policies, which are evidence-based and already in law.”
A government source said “it is right that we continue to monitor the impact of the restrictions on the cost of living” in an unprecedented global situation with the economy.
Boris Johnson changed his tune on so-called “nannying” food bans after he almost died of Covid, and vowed to introduce a strategy to cut obesity.
But sources told the Guardian that the review was focused on “deregulation” after Liz Truss hit out at junk food taxes in her Tory leadership campaign.
She said in a newspaper interview: "Those taxes are over.
“Talking about whether or not somebody should buy a two-for-one offer? No. There is definitely enough of that."
She added Brits “don’t want the government telling them what to eat”.
Christopher Snowdon of free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs said: “Scrapping policies that make food and drink more expensive during a cost of living crisis is a no-brainer. The sugar tax has achieved nothing and the ban on volume price discounts will hurt everybody."