Written Question: Online Advertising Ban on Foods High in Fat, Salt or Sugar

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John Stevenson: To ask the Attorney General, what input she has had in the policy-making process for the public consultation on the online advertising ban on foods high in fat, salt or sugar; and whether she has made an assessment of the legal implications of introducing proposals to restrict the commercial and marketing activities of large and small companies.

Michael Ellis: Reducing obesity levels is a key priority for this Government and our ambition is to halve childhood obesity by 2030. That is why in the Tackling Obesity strategy, published in July, restrictions to advertising of foods high in fat, salt or sugar were announced.

This policy is led by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Health & Social Care (DHSC), and they are now consulting on how a total online advertising restriction would be introduced. This consultation is ongoing and will close on 22 December 2020.

The Law Officers regularly meet ministerial colleagues to discuss important issues of common interest.

However, it is a fundamental and longstanding principle of our system of government that the fact that the Law Officers have advised (or not advised) and the content of any such advice is, by convention, not disclosed outside Government, without their consent.


John Stevenson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what input his Department had in the policy-making process for the public consultation on an online advertising ban on foods high in fat, salt or sugar.

Steve Barclay: The Government’s commitment to consult on an online advertising ban on foods high in fat, salt and sugar as part of the July obesity package, and the launch of the consultation on 10 November, were both subject to HM Treasury approval.

The Government is undertaking a full Regulatory Impact Assessment on the online ban to ensure the costs to business are captured and the benefits and the costs of all options are compared as per HM Treasury guidance. These assessments are independently assessed by the Regulatory Policy Committee to ensure they are robust.


John Stevenson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department was asked by (a) the Department for Health and Social Care and (b) Public Health England to undertake an (i) economic impact assessment and (ii) cost-benefit analysis of each proposal in the consultation on an online advertising ban for foods high in fat, salt or sugar.

Steve Barclay: The Government is undertaking a full Regulatory Impact Assessment on the proposal to introduce a total restriction of online advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and salt to ensure the costs to business are captured and the benefits and the costs of all options are compared as per HM Treasury guidance. This assessments is undertaken jointly by the Department for Health and Social Care and the Department of Culture Media and Sport, and is independently assessed by the Regulatory Policy Committee to ensure it is robust.

The Department for Health and Social Care and the Department of Culture Media and Sport jointly published an evidence note alongside the consultation on this proposal. The evidence note is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/total-restriction-of-online-advertising-for-products-high-in-fat-sugar-and-salt-hfss/evidence-note.

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