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Tesco chairman hits out at government over delaying anti-obesity measures


John Allan, the chairman of Tesco has criticised Boris Johnson’s government for reversing course on policy, including over anti-obesity measures
“Unlike the government, you know, whose view is that having an idea and sticking with it for more than a week constitutes real achievement, we don’t operate that way,” Allan said.
// Tesco’s chairman John Allan has hit out at the UK government for backtracking on its anti-obesity measures
// Allan said Tesco CEO Ken Murphy had spoken to Downing Street to warn against delaying the plan, which has been designed to tackle high obesity rates

John Allan, the chairman of Tesco has criticised Boris Johnson’s government for reversing course on policy, including over anti-obesity measures, saying companies are more consistent.

The chairman of Britain’s biggest supermarket said he was talking in a personal capacity when he condemned last month’s decision by the government to delay new rules banning multi-buy deals on food and drink high in fat, salt, or sugar.

“Unlike the government, you know, whose view is that having an idea and sticking with it for more than a week constitutes real achievement, we don’t operate that way,” he said.


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“We’ve got these long term commitments which we’re absolutely committed to deliver.”

Allan said Tesco CEO Ken Murphy had spoken to Downing Street to warn against delaying the plan, which has been designed to tackle high obesity rates.

“Ken personally told the prime minister’s chief of staff more or less on the day that it was announced that we thought this was a really bad move on the part of the government,” Allan told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting.

The policy, due to come into force in October, would have banned deals including “buy one get one free”, “3 for 2”, and put restrictions on free refills for soft drinks. Its delay angered anti-obesity campaigners.

Last month, the government said it was delaying the plan by a year, saying it needed more time to understand the impact on consumers, given rising inflation.

While at the time Tesco said that it would stick with the original plan to remove volume-led promotions on the products that are high in fat, salt and sugar by October this year.

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