kids advertising

Labour’s proposals would include a ban ads promoting foods high in fat, salt or sugar from primetime television programmesmage

Labour will extend restrictions on junk food advertising to all TV programmes before the 9pm watershed if it wins the general election.

The party pledged to make the next generation the “healthiest the world has ever seen” in today’s announcement of its plans to combat childhood obesity.

A key part of its proposals would be to ban ads promoting foods high in fat, salt or sugar from primetime television programmes such as The X Factor, Hollyoaks and Britain’s Got Talent.

It claimed a ban on pre-watershed junk food advertising would reduce children’s viewing of junk food adverts by 82%.

Labour previously mooted plans for such a ban before the 2015 election, but they were dropped from its final manifesto.

Former PM David Cameron is also believed to have considered extending the watershed ban before the Tories watered down his plans to battle childhood obesity last year. The plans came after Public Health England called for “significantly reduced opportunities to market and advertise high-sugar food and drink products” across all media.

PHE is already carrying out a review of the Nutrient Profile Model used for the ban on advertising during programmes aimed specifically at children, with existing Ofcom regulation dating back to 2007.

Today, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth will set out the party’s plans to combat health inequalities and end what he called the “scandalous” link between deprivation and child health.

He said Labour would publish a new childhood obesity strategy within its first 100 days, outlining a roadmap to halving childhood obesity rates within 10 years.

Alongside the watershed plans, Labour said it would introduce a new index of child health to measure progress against international standards and report annually against four key indicators, including obesity. It would also legally require all government departments to have a child health strategy.

Labour has also pledged to go further on taxation than the Conservatives. It has called for the soft drink levy to be broadened to cover multibuy discounts on HFSS foods, sparking outcry from the FDF, which accused Labour of putting “taxation on heath above jobs”.

But Ashworth said addressing ill health in children was a “long-standing, growing and urgent challenge”. “It should be matter of shame that a child’s health is so closely linked to poverty and that where and in what circumstances you grow up can dramatically affect your life chances,” he said.

“Evidence shows the link between deprivation and poor health in childhood, so with child poverty on the rise, the need for action becomes more acute.

“The UK has one of the worst childhood obesity rates in Western Europe. Tooth decay is the single most common reason why children aged five to nine require admission to hospital. Around 13% of boys and 10% of girls aged 11-15 have mental health problems.”

Tory public health spokeswoman Nicola Blackwood said: “Reducing childhood obesity is vital. That’s why the public health watchdog says that the childhood obesity plan we’ve put in place is the most ambitious in the world, and why we have one of the strictest TV advertising regimes of any country.

“We spent £3.4bn on public health programmes last year - that can only be funded by a strong economy, which Jeremy Corbyn would risk with his nonsensical economic ideas.”