Michael Gove says Government need to 'tackle' obesity
Local Government Secretary Michael Gove has denied personal involvement in the blocking of a new Papa John’s restaurant in the north of England.
Mr Gove was questioned about a planned ban on ‘buy one get one free’ deals (BOGOF) by the Government, amid reports it’s set to be delayed until 2025.
He said that while the Government is determined to take action on obesity, given the cost of living crisis he is now reviewing whether making unhealthy food more expensive remains the “best measure” to reduce pressure on the NHS and improve people’s health.
Mr Gove added the Government remains committed to tackling the problem and if they do eventually decide to junk the plans altogether they will move towards different measures to address the health of the nation.
He added: “One of the big challenges that our NHS faces is the demand for services”.
“If we can tackle obesity, that contributes to tackling diabetes, heart disease and a number of other factors.”
Asked if those other policy choices include looking at takeaway locations, Mr Gove said he wanted to take the opportunity to “clear up something that was a mild misreporting last week”.
Last weekend the Telegraph revealed that Michael Gove had blocked a Papa John’s restaurant opening in Tyneside over obesity fears for local children.
The planning inspectorate rejected an appeal after the local council brought in new rules to curb the opening of takeaway outlets in areas where more than 15 percent of year 6 pupils are classified as “very overweight”.
Mr Gove’s planning officials said the proposed chain would “harm the health of residents in the area”.
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The top Tory said the story had been inaccurate, despite the article clarifying it was Mr Gove’s officials and not himself personally who intervened.
“The local authority in Tyneside had a policy there about the location of takeaways, and this is just an example of local government taking a different decision from central government,”
“My own view is we need to look at a range of measures to tackle obesity.
“I’ve been very impressed by the work of Henry Dimbleby who was the leader on the national food strategy. There are a range of tools.”
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Mr Dimbleby has previously faced criticism for calling for higher taxes on junk food, despite his own takeaway restaurant Leon promising fast food that “does you good” – despite their burgers being more calorific than McDonald’s.
Responding to the story that Mr Gove’s officials had blocked the Papa John’s restaurant opening, Christopher Snowden of the IEA think tank said: “This is a small example of why the United Kingdom’s economy is in a death spiral”.
“For all the government’s empty talk about being in favour of business and growth, it cannot resist meddling.”
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