Leon co-founder quits as government food tsar to be able to criticise ‘ultra-free-market ideology’ which ‘stops them imposing restrictions on junk food’
- Henry Dimbleby said Tories’ inaction against obesity creating problems for NHS
- He resigned from his position last week after five years in post
- Read more: How doctors fund fast-food firms blamed for obesity
The Government’s food tsar has quit to be able to criticise ‘ultra-free-market ideology’ which stops them from imposing restrictions on junk food.
Leon co-founder Henry Dimbleby said that the Tories’ lack of action against obesity risks creating more problems for the NHS.
‘There is a concern that dealing with these issues could be seen to be ‘nanny state’ and plays badly in the ‘red wall’ constituencies,’ he told the Sunday Times.
‘That isn’t the case, actually, but there is concern that we need to be celebrating the great British diets of fish and chips and curry and beer and that junk food is somehow patriotic.’
Mr Dimbleby, a staunch advocate for wider free school meal provision, resigned at the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs last week after five years in post.
Leon co-founder Henry Dimbleby (pictured) told the Sunday Times that the Tories’ lack of action against obesity risks creating more problems for the NHS.
His decision came after he published the National Food Strategy in 2021 – which called for free school meals for every Universal Credit household.
The strategy also advised a ‘snack tax’ on foods with high sugar and salt content to encourage manufactures to make food healthier.
However, Boris Johnson ditched the majority of the recommendations when his Government published a white paper on food the next year, according to The Mirror.
Proposals to ban buy one get one free deals on unhealthy snacks have been delayed until October due to cost-of-living pressures.
Meanwhile, a bar on junk food adverts before 9pm was also due to come into force in January, but this has not happened.
Mr Dimbleby said: ‘This government is going backwards. After Boris Johnson’s hospitalisation, they were going to restrict advertising of junk food to children.
Mr Dimbley said: ‘There is concern that we need to be celebrating the great British diets of fish and chips and curry and beer and that junk food is somehow patriotic.’ [File image]
‘They’re not going to do that. They’re just not tackling it.’
Mr Dimbleby said the country will create colossal problems for the NHS if it does not tackle obesity – as the public health health service is already struggling with the impact of people’s bad diet.
‘Winston Churchill talked about the greatest asset a nation can have is the health of its people,’ said Mr Dimbleby.
‘Andy Haldane, the former chief economist of the Bank of England, recently said the biggest problem we have in terms of productivity in this country is illness, and that our workforce is not fit.’
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We take tackling obesity seriously and we will continue to work closely with industry to make it easier for people to make healthier choices.’
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