childhood obesity

The levels of severe obesity among children have risen to an all-time high, official figures have shown, with 4.4% of year six pupils in England needing medical help for their weight. The news comes just as the outgoing Chief Medical Officer, called for severe action to tackle obesity, including banning eating on public transport and a differentiated VAT system between healthy and unhealthy foods (The Guardian).

Obesity levels are taking a toll on taxpayers with the average tax bill being £409 higher because of the obesity crisis, according to economic calculations. According to the latests figures 20.2% of children were obese by the time they left primary school and the gap between rich and poor children who were overweight was widening (The Times).

The UK services sector must weather the current political turbolence, writes the Financial Times as manufacturing woes continue to make headlines. The latest offcial data shows that, despite figures being more positive than expected, growth in the services sector remains subdued at 0.4% in the three months to August (The Financial Times £).

The UK is set to avoid a recession after official data for the three months to August showed better-than-expected growth (BBC). The UK recession fears were banished as the film and TV industry contributed heavily to the growth in the services sector (Sky News).

The pound reached its highest level against the dollar in over 11 months on Thursday after talks between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar made investors hopeful that a deal on Brexit is achievable. The pound rose as the two PMs issued a joint statement saying they “could see a pathway” to a possible Brexit deal (The Telegraph, Sky News).

Ministers have been accused of failing to protect The UK industry from the upcoming 25% US tariffs to be imposed on thousands of produce, including Scotch Whisky, from next week. Industry leaders claimed that the government is too preoccupied with Brexit while dozens of distilleries faced “a very real threat to growth, investment and jobs” (The Times).

The UK competition watchdog is mulling an investegation into Slug and Lettuce pub chain owner Stonegate’s deal to buy larger rival Ei Group, which will see it become the UK’s biggest pub operator (Reuters).

The boss of Asda-owner Walmart’s US business, Greg Foran, will return to his home country to head Air New Zealand, leaving the top of one of the US retail giant’s biggest divisions just before the crucial Christmas season. His unexpected move prompted Walmart to appoint John Furner, head of its Sam’s Cub subsidiary, to replace him (The Financial Times £).

In an effort to tackle the climate crisis, Italy’s government has proposed to cut prices of food sold without packaging. The new bill, to be discussed next week, includes other measures such as giving public transport season tickets to those who stop using their cars, a €20m investment in electric and hybrid school buses, an urban reforestation plan and an environmental campaign in schools (The Guardian).