The Junk Food Ban

MQT on 2019-03-21
Session date: 
March 21, 2019
Question By: 
David Kurten
Brexit Alliance Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


On 25 February 2019, you introduced a ban on so-called junk food advertising on public transport. It would be much appreciated if you could advise just how much this exercise in what I would consider to be virtue-signalling is going to cost TfL in lost revenue?


Answer for The Junk Food Ban
The Junk Food Ban

The Junk Food Ban

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I am committed to doing all I can to help Londoners make healthy food choices and to tackle child obesity. London has one of the highest child overweight and obesity rates in Europe, with almost 40 per cent of the capital’s children aged 10 and 11 overweight or obese. Children from more deprived areas of the capital are disproportionately affected, with young people in Barking and Dagenham almost twice as likely to be overweight as children from Richmond.

The financial and human costs associated with obesity have spiralled in recent years and continue to rise. Earlier this year, Diabetes UK revealed a significant increase in the number of children and young people across the country diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The NHS spends at least £5.1 billion a year dealing with ill health caused by overweight and obesity in England and economic analysis suggests that the wider costs to UK society are at least £27 billion each year. Given the scale of the problem it is important we do all we can to tackle this.

That is why I have introduced restrictions on the advertisement of ‘high fat, salt and/or sugar’ (HFSS) products across TfL’s advertising estate along with a range of other policies in my London Food Strategy.  

It is too early to know if there will be an impact on TfL’s revenue, as spend fluctuates between advertisers, but TfL believes that any revenue loss will be minimised as it continues to work with advertisers and brands to switch their advertising to healthier options. The majority of brands have a range of healthier products which they plan to continue advertising on the TfL estate.