The government is to delay a ban on multi-buy deals for junk food and pre-watershed TV advertising.

The Department of Health said the plans would be deferred for a year while officials assessed the impact on household finances as families struggle with the increasing cost of living.

It said curbs on junk food placement in stores would still go ahead in October.

But health campaigners have accused the PM of “playing politics” with children’s health.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the planned ban on “buy one get one free” (Bogof) deals for food and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) as well as free refills for soft drinks, would be put on hold for 12 months, until October 2023.

Junk food: Ministers to delay ban on multi-buy deals

Plans to restrict TV advertising of junk foods before the 21:00 GMT watershed and paid-for online adverts are also being paused for a year and will not come into force until January 2024, the department added.

Laws requiring large restaurants, cafes and takeaways to list calories on their menus came into force last month.

Public health minister Maggie Throup insisted the government remained committed to tackling the issue of childhood obesity.

“Pausing restrictions on deals like ‘buy one get one free’ will allow us to understand its impact on consumers in light of an unprecedented global economic situation,” she added.

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However, health campaigners have criticised delays to the plans, and accused Boris Johnson’s government of failing to tackle childhood obesity.

Prof Graham MacGregor, a cardiologist at Queen Mary University of London and chairman of Action on Sugar, said the delays contradicted the government’s “levelling up” agenda.

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“Boris Johnson could have left a legacy of being the first prime minister to address obesity in a meaningful way, particularly in restricting advertising and promotion of unhealthy food which were his flagship policies,” he said.

“Instead, he has given in to his own MPs, and an aggressive food industry, who, ironically, were starting to comply with these new policies.”