Liz Truss is preparing to scrap the sugar tax in a bid to ease the impact of the cost of living crisis, according to The Times.
The move would see a proposed ban on 'buy one, get one free' promotions on unhealthy foods binned, while also throwing into doubt a ban on sweets and chocolates at the checkout, which was due to come in next month.
LADbible understands that the government has commissioned an internal summary of obesity policy in light of the current global economic situation, though the summary is routine work of government, rather than a formal review.
Truss has been an outspoken critic of so-called 'nanny state' policies, and speaking to the Daily Mail last month, she laid out plans to take action against anti-obesity measures.
She said: "Those taxes are over. Talking about whether or not somebody should buy a two-for-one offer? No. There is definitely enough of that.
"What people want the Government to be doing is delivering good roads, good rail services, making sure there’s broadband, making sure there’s mobile phone coverage, cutting the NHS waiting lists, helping people get a GP appointment.
"They don’t want the Government telling them what to eat."
However, some have questioned whether she will be able to implement the plan.
“I’m not sure this will survive contact with reality because it is politically toxic,” one senior Conservative source told The Times. “It’s a piece of culture war rather than a piece of health policy.”
Meanwhile, Professor Graham MacGregor, of the campaign group Action on Sugar, argued such a move would have a 'disastrous' impact.
He said: “Scrapping the government’s evidence-based obesity strategy would be disastrous to both public health and also to the many food businesses which have spent years and vast amounts of money preparing for this change in policy.”
What's more, officials in a public health team led by Sir Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, are appalled by the plan, The Times reports.
However, John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Plans to end ‘buy one, get one free’ were only going to pile pressure on hard-hit households during a cost of living crisis.
"Government cannot expect taxpayers to further tighten their belts and Truss is right to row it back.”