Obesity Strategy 2020

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:56 pm on 27th May 2021.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Conservative, Forest of Dean 2:56 pm, 27th May 2021

The intervention I was going to make when the Minister was dealing with Wera Hobhouse was on the impact assessment for the regulations she mentioned. I have looked very carefully at the evidence, and it seems to me that the best case for these regulations is that we will reduce the number of calories consumed by 80, which is an apple, and the worst case will reduce it by about eight, which is a 10th of an apple. It seems to me that the cost of these regulations simply is not justified by the outcomes.

Because the Minister did not take my intervention at that time, she went on to talk about the legislation for promotions online, and I have looked at this. The Government’s goal for this legislation is that it reduces the calorie consumption by 8 billion calories. That sounds like a lot, but if we look at the number of children in the period that is spread over, it is equivalent to each child eating one fewer Smartie a day. Given that the children who have the most serious obesity problem are consuming up to 500 calories a day, reducing their calorie consumption by three calories a day simply does not do it.

The Government’s ambition is correct, but I just have a real worry that these particular measures simply will not have the effect that the Government and all of us wish to happen.