London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a plan to ban “junk food” advertising on the capital’s transport network.
In a statement, the Mayor’s office argued the availability of cheap fast food was a class issue, with children from poorer backgrounds more likely to be overweight.
According to his plan, promoting food and drink high in salt, fat, and sugar will be banned on tubes, buses, overground trains, and stations across the Transport for London (TfL) network.
The only city in Europe to introduce a similar ban is Amsterdam, and Mayor Khan has already floated a ban on the opening of new hot food takeaways within 400 meters of schools.
In 2016, Khan demanded adverts showing healthy and attractive looking women on the Tube were also banned, claiming they “demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies.”
The latest ban will now go out to consultation but has already been welcomed by some celebrities and proponents of big state interference, including chef Jamie Oliver.
I’m proposing to ban adverts for harmful junk food from our entire Tube and bus network. I want to reduce the influence and pressure that can be put on children and families to make unhealthy choices. https://t.co/JReKiIOOM8
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) May 11, 2018
The Mayor said: “If we don’t take bold steps against it we are not doing right by our young people as well as placing a huge strain on our already pressurised health service in years to come.
“It can’t be right that in a city as prosperous as London that where you live and the income you have can have a massive impact on whether you have access to healthy, nutritious food and your exposure to junk food advertising.
“I’m determined to do all I can to tackle this issue with the powers I have and help Londoners make healthy food choices for themselves and their families.”
Mr Oliver added: “Sadiq Khan today takes a massive and bold step forward for child health in London. This is a game-changing moment, protecting kids from relentless junk food advertising on their daily journeys to school and around our amazing city.
“Putting their health first shows others what strong leadership looks like.
Here we go again – Mayor Khan announces initiatives to beat child obesity! Mayor, it’s a smoke screen – CRIME!! – plans to beat it, PLEASE! Londoners are desperate – war on obesity, laudable though it may be, is NOT a priority problem – CRIME is! We beg you!
— David Buik (@truemagic68) May 11, 2018
Many users of social media argued Mr. Khan had more pressing priorities, such a knife crime, and Hilary Ross, head of retail, food, and hospitality at law firm DWF said the ban would do little to tackle obesity.
“Focusing on advertising alone is like using a ‘sticking plaster’ to mend a broken limb and fails to tackle the real issue,” she told City AM.
“The increase of obesity in the UK is multidimensional, aspects of which include socioeconomic status, physical inactivity as well as what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat.”
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 10, 2018