Nick Smith MP Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent
Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith has urged the Government to get on with implementing its own plan to tackle childhood obesity.
Despite the “Childhood obesity: a plan for action, chapter 2” document being published in July 2018, many of the proposals have stalled.
Yesterday (Thursday, February 6) Nick Smith MP questioned Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg MP over the issue of banning TV junk food adverts before the watershed.
Mr Smith said: “Junk food adverts drive childhood obesity, but the Government still have not banned them from before the 9 o’clock watershed. May we have a statement from the Government confirming when they will bring in this common-sense change?”
Mr Rees-Mogg responded: “There is always a balance with these things. By and large, people do not want the nanny state, however keen they may be on nannies. Before I get heckled by Opposition Members, let me say that nannies are splendid, the nanny state a little bit less so.”
He went on to say the issue was a balance “between free speech and the ability of businesses to carry on their business, and protecting young people.”
Commenting afterwards, Mr Smith said: “The answer from Mr Rees-Mogg was very dismissive and he seemed more interested in taking the opportunity to make a joke about his family’s nanny.
“The Leader of the House’s sniffy attitude to this issue is odd given that the Government’s own ‘Childhood obesity: a plan for action’ document specifically talks about protecting children ‘from advertising that encourages demand for unhealthy food’.
“The same report recommends that a consultation into a junk food advertising ban takes place before the end of 2018. This still hasn’t happened.
“Tackling childhood obesity is not a joke. Last year Cancer Research UK released a report which says that obesity now causes more cases of common cancers than smoking.
“The Government has a big part to play in tackling this issue and should be doing all it can to create an environment which encourages healthier lifestyles for children.
“The Government has to get a move on and start implementing the ideas it formulated more than 18 months ago.”