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‘No evidence’ that banning junk food adverts before 9pm will work

(Dominic Lipinski/PA)
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

There is not enough evidence that a Government ban on junk food adverts before 9pm to tackle obesity would work, according to a committee of peers.

The Department of Health and Social Care announced in March that high fat, salt and sugar products could be banished from TV screens before a watershed to reduce childhood obesity.

But a Lord committee said proposals to bring in a 9pm cut-off could damage revenues despite a lack of proof that it could help children.

A report published by the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee said: “We do not think that there is sufficient evidence that the proposed ban on high in fat, salt and sugar advertising before the 9pm watershed would significantly reduce childhood obesity.

“We are concerned that such a blanket ban could undermine the funding model of commercial broadcasting in the UK without delivering significant benefits to children’s health.

“A ban might also be counterproductive if manufacturers divert advertising spending to fund price promotions.”

Plans for the new watershed, put out for public consultation in March, have been criticised in the committee report on the impact of Netflix and other streaming giants on public service broadcasters.

It has been argued that advertising is vital for commercial public broadcasters to compete.

A Government spokesman said: “As part of the Government’s strategy to tackle childhood obesity, we have consulted on further advertising restrictions for sugary and fatty products on TV and online.

“We will respond to that consultation in due course.”

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