Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP condemns Ofcom decision on advertising of junk food

3.13.06pm GMT Thu 7th Dec 2006

Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, Stephen Williams, has hit out at television regulators Ofcom following their failure to introduce a 9pm watershed for advertising of junk food.

Ofcom stopped short of introducing a full ban, preferring instead to prevent such adverts being shown during children's programming. However, Stephen Williams is backing calls in Parliament to overturn the decision.

Stephen Williams said "With two-thirds of young people now classed as clinically obese or overweight we cannot afford to muck about on this issue. Ofcom themselves have admitted that these new regulations will be considerably less effective than a full pre-watershed ban. Children watch all kind of family programmes that will still have advertising for junk food and unfortunately there is nobody advertising fruit and veg in a similar way to balance the equation. Ofcom's failure to go for the full ban will mean no end to the decline of the nation's health and the resulting extra strain on the NHS."

The Early Day Motion Stephen Williams has signed is number 404, the full text of which reads:

That this House welcomes Ofcom's acknowledgement of the impact of television food advertising upon children's diets and of the need for controls on the advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS); is however deeply concerned that one in three British children is now obese or overweight and therefore regrets Ofcom's rejection of a 9.00 p.m. watershed for HFSS advertisements; notes that Ofcom's proposals would have 60 per cent. less impact than a 9.00 p.m. watershed on their own calculations; recognises that a coalition of health, consumer and children's groups, and the majority of parents, continue to support a 9.00 p.m. watershed; and welcomes the provisions contained in Baroness Morgan of Drefelin's Private Member's Bill that seeks to introduce such a watershed for television advertising of HFSS food.

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