"The Prime Minister's food ad ban ignores all evidence," says furious advertising chief

27 July 2020, 20:15

By Fiona Jones

This furious advertising chief James Barge told Iain Dale why the Prime Minister's unhealthy food ad ban "ignores evidence" and "makes no sense."

The Prime Minister's "Better Health" campaign will seek to tackle the UK's growing obesity epidemic after government data showed that almost two-thirds of UK adults are above a healthy weight.

The measures include banning unhealthy food TV adverts before 9pm and banning them in totality online, which ISBA public policy director James Barge told Iain he was "deeply disappointed" about.

"If you look at the evidence around this it's quite clear the Prime Minister has come to a conclusion which rides roughshod over his own government's evidence and years of understanding the drivers of obesity," Mr Barge said.

He said he'd support measures such as education around food and targeted intervention across this country.

Explained: Boris Johnson's national plan for tackling obesity

Mr Barge branded Boris Johnson's move as a "massive intervention" and a "huge risk to jobs up and down this country for very little or no gain."

He told LBC's Iain Dale that it is "a very real possibility" food adverts on TV and radio could be banned altogether, like online.

"On the basis on a Government which seems to ignore evidence and drive forward into big interventions with two significant industries in this country, then clearly where we are now is now where we would like to be," Mr Barge said.

He also pointed out there is "huge irony" that we are being driven towards restaurants with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme "at the same time that the Government brings out a policy which impacts not just big businesses in this country but small businesses who are trying to get back on their feet."

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