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Action on Salt

Queen's Speech 2021


On Tuesday 11th May, the Queen’s Speech set out the government’s policies and proposed legislative programme for the new parliamentary session. 

In an introduction, the Prime Minister said: 

Our nation is emerging from the biggest crisis since the Second World War. People have lived through experiences unlike any other, and though COVID-19 has presented enormous challenges, the crisis has in no way diminished the government’s ambition or appetite for change. 

We will continue work to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation, including tackling obesity, making healthier choices easier and more affordable for everyone and giving treatment support through GPs to those who need it. We will address the significant and wide-ranging harms caused by the misuse of drugs and increase investment in treatment and recovery support. 

The Health and Care Bill will: 

  • Lay the foundations for a more integrated, efficient and accountable health and care system. 
  • Give the NHS and local authorities the tools they need to level up health and care outcomes across the country, enabling healthier, longer and more independent lives. 

This bill includes: 

  • Banning junk* food adverts pre-9pm watershed on TV and a total ban online. 
  • Providing £100 million extra funding for healthy weight programmes to support children, adults and families to achieve and maintain a healthier weight (Published in the Healthy Weight Strategy in July 2020). 
  • Restricting the promotions on high fat, salt and sugar food and drinks in retailers from April 2022.  
  • Introducing secondary legislation to require large out-of-home sector businesses with 250 or more employees to calorie label the food they sell.  
  • Funding a health incentives and reward approach (‘Fit Miles’) to support people to eat better and exercise more.  
  • Offering greater support through GPs, so that anyone with obesity can get support from their GP and referrals to weight management services. 

*Likely to include foods and drinks which fall under the soft drinks industry levy, sugar and calorie reduction programmes, which fail the Nutrient Profile Model.   

Click here to view Media Coverage

Action on Sugar and Action on Salt response: 

Whilst we welcome today’s announcements - specifically the commitments to ban junk food adverts pre-9pm on TV and a total ban online, the requirement for large out-of-home sector businesses to provide calorie labels, and the restrictions on the promotions on high fat, salt and sugar food and drinks - we are disappointed with the lack of further measures to mandate reformulation programmes in the UK, following the success of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.  

We are waiting for finer details on the proposals, but it is likely that many high salt products, infant foods and alcohol will be excluded, and of course so are sports sponsorship, outdoor advertising and child-friendly animations on packaging.  These proposals are a great first step, but to stop the flood of unhealthy food and drink advertising and promotions, there must be no loopholes. 

Professor Graham MacGregor, Chair of Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, Queen Mary University of London says: 

“We warmly welcome the news that the Government will finally be making Britain healthier. Bringing in these landmark obesity policies will make the UK world-leading, it’s absolutely crucial that we not only prevent obesity, but also treat those who are overweight, and this must include product reformulation. 

With figures published last year suggesting that nearly two-thirds of adults in England are either overweight or living with obesity (and obesity linked to the worst outcomes of Covid-19), it's crucial that the food & drink industry, including the hospitality sector, does not dither or delay any longer and creates a level playing field." 



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