Food Ban dropped after ministers allegedly bowed to lobbyists.

15 July 2016

Having read the article in The Times "Junk Food Ban dropped after ministers bow to lobbyists" this morning I wanted to share my opinion on it. ISBA is the voice of British advertisers and our members are affected by this development.

The leaked document to the Times is most likely the one doing the Ministerial rounds last week.

Who leaked it is a whole wonderland of speculation but my money would be on miffed health groups with direct access to Department of Health officials. It is very poor practice to play politics like this.

The Times reports that the Government had settled on cooperative approach rather than the very big stick the campaigners have long wanted. They argue for legislation, advertising bans, new laws on what we can and cannot eat. If the last Government had seen  through the sheer silliness of the pressure group demands they deserve serious praise.

Now for the problems. First will our new Ministers see things the same way? It is anyone's guess. Secondly the very real problem of obesity remains - it has been with us for a decade whilst Ministers and health officials refused to work collaboratively with business and the media We made overtures to governments of all parties but their health officials vetoed action.

Now is the time for us in advertising, media and food and drink companies to work with government to tackle a nations lifestyle problems. Together we can do it: separately we are doomed to fail. 

It is no secret that the advertising industry has been trying to work constructively with governments. We believe that the ad industry can and should play a constructive role in tackling obesity, working with and not against the government will help us find a solutions to this very complex issue. Simple knee jerk bans or draconian laws will not get us back into shape.

We talked to Number 10, BIS and Department of Health and DCMS. The support for the initiative was lukewarm after the then Chancellor George Osborne announced the sugar tax. 

Written Ian Twinn ISBA’s director of public affairs 

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