Boris Johnson is already facing growing backlash within the party over his decision to suspend a “buy one get one” supermarket deal and a plan to ban pre-watershed TV commercials for junk food.
The prime minister has ordered a postponement as part of the decree for Whitehall to find ways to alleviate the cost of living crisis. But senior Conservative lawmakers have warned that the smoke puts more pressure on the NHS and risks contributing to serious illness.
Conservative MP and former health minister Dan Poulter has urged the prime minister to reconsider. “We know that the biggest health problem the UK faces is obesity and is linked to many chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. All of this can shorten lives and put tremendous pressure on the NHS,” he said. . observer.
“There is no silver bullet, but it is disappointing that the government puts these initiatives on hold and hopefully it will be reconsidered, as banning junk food advertising and banning one-for-one free deals will be an important step forward.”
This decision will likely be subject to scrutiny by the Commons Health Choices Commission. The group is led by former health minister Jeremy Hunt, who once described the exacerbated child obesity problem as a “national emergency.”
Another former health minister warned that Mr Johnson’s weight could “puncture” the government’s obesity strategy, which he advocated, when he was at risk of contracting the virus.
James Bethel, who piloted the measure, said withdrawing the plan could “have a massive follow-up impact on all of our health goals.” He told BBC Radio 4. today: “The cancer 10-year plan, an extra five-year lifespan and many more of our health goals have been compromised by this.” “All these diseases [being] Being overweight from junk food is borne by the NHS and taxpayers. We need to account for all the costs of the obesity crisis in this country, and that’s actually one way to mitigate those costs without banning things or taking more extreme measures.”
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that if an overweight adult loses 5 pounds, the NHS could save 100 million pounds. After a cabinet meeting on the cost of living last week, the prime minister decided to suspend the measures for at least a year. As the Treasury is reluctant to spend more on solving the problem, all departments are under pressure to find ways to mitigate the crisis.
Bethel warned that effectively delaying the plan would mean not proceeding before the next election, putting it at risk indefinitely. “The reality of the National Assembly is that it will be extremely difficult to return to these measures before the next election,” he said. “I would like to take the government’s word for word, but I’m concerned that this will push back the obesity strategy from top to bottom.”
The Department of Health and Social Care has said the ban on delayed multi-purchase promotions will take effect in October 2023, and TV commercials before the 9pm watershed will now be in January 2024.