The Prime Minister faced a revolt from Tory MPs amid fears the introduction of the restrictions could worsen the cost of living crisis.
But last night it emerged that the introduction of restrictions on multiple buy offers for products high in fat, salt or sugar would be delayed for a year.
Tory MP Esther McVey, below, said she was delighted with the overhaul and called for the measures to be scrapped altogether.
She said: ‘It’s something the blue collar conservative group has been campaigning on for a long time.
“Thank goodness common sense prevailed because how on earth in a cost of living crisis could the government ban” get
a free one?'”
“I was against it from the start and made my views known at the highest level.”
“People should be free to make their own choices and that includes taking advantage of any purchase, getting a free offer or any other available offer.”
“This needs to be abandoned for good and not just delayed for a year.”
Public Health Minister Maggie Throup said: “We are committed to doing everything we can to help people live healthier lives.”
“Suspending restrictions on offers such as buy one, get one free will allow us to understand their impact on consumers in light of an unprecedented global economic situation.”
The government said the decision followed concerns that rising global energy and food prices meant the measures would add to the woes of many. A promised ban on TV junk food advertising before the 9 p.m. watershed has also been delayed until January 2024.
Restrictions on the placement of less healthy products in key locations such as checkouts will still come into effect as planned in October.
The Prime Minister had said restrictions on food offerings were not meant to be ‘overly heavy-handed’ but a slight push. But he faced resistance from some Tory MPs, ministers and backbenchers who urged him to abandon the plans.
However, there was an outcry from many health officials and charities dismayed by the U-turn.
Healthy eating campaigner Jamie Oliver said: ‘It’s a wasted opportunity and it’s starting to erode the whole obesity strategy.
“I really hope the Prime Minister will prove me wrong and show real leadership in providing young people with a healthier and fairer future.”
Caroline Cerny, from the Obesity Health Alliance, said the decision “would have serious consequences for children’s health”.
She said: “We urge Boris Johnson to remember the promise he made to enable everyone to be healthier and to reverse this catastrophic decision.”
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