The government has postponed plans to disperse junk food promotions for a year.

In October, new measures, as part of a broader strategy to combat obesity, banned promotions such as “buy one – get one for free” (Bogof) and additional free offers for foods high in fat, salt and sugar ( HFSS). .

But the actions will be banned in October 2023.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHSC) said the new measures would coincide with rising energy and commodity prices.

Prohibition of Advertise HFSS on TV until 9 p.m. and paid online advertising is also being postponed for a year and will instead take effect in January 2024 due to delays in the passage of the Health and Health Care Act, which has received a royal level and the industry needs more time to prepare, the government said.

It also says that consultations on television and paid advertising on the Internet will be launched in the coming weeks.

Health campaigners were alarmed by the news, with one accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson of “playing politics” with children’s health.

Government should not “procrastinate”

However, Health Minister Maggie Trapp said: “We are committed to doing our best to help people live healthier lives.

“Suspending restrictions on transactions such as purchases, get one for free, will allow us to understand their impact on consumers in light of the unprecedented global economic situation.”

But Barbara Crowther, of the Children’s Food Campaign, said the government should not “procrastinate and procrastinate” but should move faster on deals with Bogof.

“Obesity is growing and millions of families can’t afford to put the right food on the table. Repeated shopping offers are forcing people to spend more on junk and less on healthy food,” she said.

“This delay threatens the UK’s goal of halving childhood obesity by 2030. Boris is playing politics with the health of our children. “

Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwyn said: “Boris Johnson’s desperation to hold on to his job means that the ideology of Conservative MPs is placed above the health of children.

“Instead of reducing childhood obesity, preventing ill health and easing pressure on the NHS, this chaotic government is making another reversal.”

Deferring restrictions “makes sense”

However, the “pragmatism” of the government’s actions was welcomed by the branch bodies of the Food and Beverage Federation (FDF).

Kate Halliwell, FDF’s chief researcher, said: “At a time when both families and our producers are struggling with high inflation, it makes sense to postpone restrictions on promotions of everyday food and beverages, including breakfast cereals, ready-made dishes. and yogurts, as it risked further stretching already tight home budgets.

“We also welcome the delay in the start of advertising restrictions, given the time it will take our industry to prepare for changes in legislation.”

Restrictions on the placement of less useful products in key locations such as checkouts, store entrances and end aisles, as well as their online equivalents will continue to take effect in October.

The government has said that fighting obesity remains a priority as it will reduce the burden on the NHS as it works to address the COVID backlog.

Last month, the government introduced calorie labeling in large restaurants, cafes and takeaways.

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