MPs issue new call for 9pm watershed on junk-food ads advertising

The Government is under renewed pressure to ban TV ads for junk food before 9pm after MPs warned Ofcom's curbs do not go far enough.

Eighty-nine MPs signed a Commons motion welcoming Ofcom's acknowledgement of the impact of TV ads on children's diets, but expressing concern that one in three British children is now obese.

The MPs regret Ofcom's decision in November to rule out a 9pm watershed even though it admitted its own proposals would have "60 per cent less impact" than such a ban. Instead, Ofcom announced that from this month, junk-food ads would be banned during children's programmes and adult programmes watched by large numbers of children.

Supporters of tougher action intend to bring in a Private Member's Bill. Although it might not secure enough parliamentary time to become law, it would keep pressure on the Government.

Ministers are sympathetic to Ofcom's approach, which was criticised by the ad and food industries for going further than expected. But the MPs' campaign means the Government will need to be convinced that the measures are having an impact.

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