Government food czar resigns with blast at ‘insane’ Tories failure to tackle obesity
Lyons co-founder Henry Dimbleby said the conservatives refuse to clamp down on the fast food industry because of their obsession with “too free-market ideology”.
“There is a concern that dealing with these issues could be seen as a ‘nanny state’ and play badly in ‘red wall’ circles,” he told The Sunday Times.
“This is not the case, in fact, but there is a concern that we need to celebrate the wonderful British diets of fish and chips, curry and beer and that junk food is somehow patriotic.”
Dimbleby, a staunch advocate for free school meals more widely, resigned from his post at the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs last week after five years in the job.
It comes after he published the National Food Strategy in 2021 that called for free school meals for all Universal Credit Program families and recommended a “snack tax” on foods high in sugar and salt to encourage manufacturers to make foods healthier.
But Boris Johnson abandoned most of the recommendations when his government published a white paper on food the following year.
Plans to ban buy one, get one free deals on unhealthy snacks have been delayed until October amid cost-of-living pressures.
A ban on fast food ads before 9 p.m. was set to go into effect in January, but that ban has been rolled out as well.
“This government is backing off,” Dimbleby said, after Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital [with Covid-19 in 2020]They were going to restrict advertising of junk food to children.
“They’re not going to do that. They’re not dealing with it.”
He warned the country faced major problems for the NHS if it failed to tackle obesity which was left to struggle with the impact of conditions caused by poor diet.
said Mr. Dimbleby: “Winston Churchill spoke of the most important thing a nation can have is the health of its people. He understood that.
Andy Haldane, former chief economist at the Bank of England, recently said that the biggest problem we have in terms of productivity in this country is disease, and our workforce is not decent.
“Yet somehow, this new version of the Conservative Party thinks that these are not things he should be involved in, and it’s just crazy. It doesn’t make sense.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We take addressing obesity very seriously and will continue to work closely with industry to make it easier for people to make healthy choices.”