Boris used to be a libertarian – so why this nanny state now? COMMENT | express comment | comment

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As a result, our weekly grocery bills become much more expensive. Very soon, families across the country will suddenly find that they have run out of money before the end of the month. In fact, harrowing stories are already emerging as many have to choose between heating their homes or supporting themselves. With this in mind, it is baffling that this administration is persevering in its failed anti-obesity campaign, at great and direct cost to struggling families. Once Boris Johnson once called himself a “libertarian” and spoke of Britain as a “land of liberty”.

Indeed, during his campaign for the Tory leadership in 2019, he vowed to push back “the ongoing creep of the nanny state”. But now he’s determined to slim down Britain by attacking unhealthy food head-on.

Its Health and Care Act has a number of provisions aimed at reducing purchases of food the government deems “unhealthy”. It will ban the advertising of these foods on television and radio before 9 p.m. in a new territory and at all times online. These policies will impose immense costs on the broadcasting, advertising and food industries, but according to the government’s own analysis, they will remove just 1.7 calories a day from children’s diets – roughly the equivalent of a single tic tac or half a Smartie .

The bill also bans “buy one get one free” promotional offers for objectionable foods. Hoping to stick to your tight shopping budget by using 3 for 2 chips on the kids’ school lunch boxes? think again The government has decided that you are either unable or unwilling to make healthy choices for yourself and your family, so they will enforce those choices through aggressive new government regulations.

Where the government should be relieving our wallets, it is instead actively worsening the cost of living crisis by imposing new rules that add artificial costs to our grocery bills. Research from the Food and Drink Federation predicts measures in the Health and Care Act will increase our food spending by £160 a year.

That may not sound like a bank-breaking number, but when struggling families are already saving money and still not making ends meet, an extra £15 disappearing each month will seem like a lost fortune. Grocery prices are going up anyway, as are our energy bills, fuel costs, and social security payments. The last thing the government should do is make everyday necessities unnecessarily expensive.

Food prices are the eye of the storm of the cost of living crisis. Everything is connected. For example, rising gas prices have a direct impact on manufacturing and distribution costs, and these increased costs are filtering through to supermarket shelves. It is a doom-loop.

At the industrial level, food prices have been rising quietly for some time, mainly due to non-economic factors such as poor wheat harvests. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations puts the annual increase in global food prices at 30%. So far, these price increases have largely been absorbed by manufacturers, who have had a vested interest in keeping prices down.

But now, as the perfect storm of political and economic troubles descends on consumers, inevitably prices in stores will soar. That means it’s crunch time – time to pull out all the stops to ensure no British family goes without food or heating.

This is not the time to preach obesity with harmful and ineffective new rules and regulations. Resisting the continued growth of the nanny state is the only way to keep housekeeping costs down and preserve our most basic agency in the name of personal responsibility.

Jason Reed is the UK Lead at Young Voices and a political commentator for a variety of media. Follow him on Twitter @JasonReed624 or read more on his website jason-reed.co.uk

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