Maggie Throup – 2022 Statement on the Delay in Volume Price Promotion and Advertising Restrictions

The statement made by Maggie Throup, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the House of Commons on 16 May 2022.

The Government are delaying the implementation of the volume price promotion restrictions and the introduction of further advertising restrictions on TV and online for high fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) products by 12 months.

We are clear that the delay to volume price promotions does not impact the locations measures which will still come into force on 1 October 2022. Under these measures, less healthy products in scope will no longer be promoted in key locations, such as checkouts, store entrances, aisle ends and their online equivalents. We expect these location restrictions to be the single most impactful obesity policy at reducing children’s calorie consumption and are expected to accrue health benefits of over £57 billion and provide NHS savings of over £4 billion, over the next 25 years.

The delay to restrictions on multibuy deals will allow the Government to review and monitor the impact of the restrictions on the cost of living in light of an unprecedented global economic situation.

A delay to the advertising restrictions is necessary because a delay in the Health and Care Act 2022 receiving Royal Assent has had a consequential impact on the timetable for the regulators’ subsequent consultations and publication of final guidance, meaning it was unlikely this would be ready with sufficient time before implementation.

We have also considered the ongoing concerns from industry about having time to fully implement the final guidance, by restructuring their funding and revenue streams appropriately, and ensuring robust compliance from implementation. We therefore believe this is the best approach to balance tackling childhood obesity in a timely way, managing the unprecedented economic situation and ensuring the smooth and effective implementation of these restrictions. The advertising regulations will now come into force on 1 January 2024.

We included a power in the Health and Care Act to delay implementation of the advertising restrictions if necessary. We will be utilising this power to amend the date of implementation for the advertising restrictions by secondary legislation. The implementation of the volume price restrictions will also be amended by secondary legislation.

This Government remain committed to halving childhood obesity by 2030 and these measures and others, including last month’s new measures on calorie labelling in large restaurants, cafes and takeaways, will play their part in delivering against this ambition.