Jamie Oliver lambasted the health minister on Monday for withholding data that could help fight obesity. Writing on Facebook, the chef-turned-campaigner hit out at Jeremy Hunt for “dithering” when faced with a crisis, rather than taking “radical action" that could make a "positive difference.”
On Monday, Hunt was embroiled in a row with a top Commons committee boss over suppressing evidence about the benefits of a "sugar tax." Health select committee chair Sarah Wollaston has probed the minister on whether political pressure had been exerted to block the release of a review by Public Health England.
The agency examined the positives of a higher tax on sugary drinks and sweets, as well as other measures, such as reduced standard portion sizes or action on discounted deals.
Many health experts back a “sugar tax” but ministers are thought to be resistant to the idea, preferring other ways of changing behaviour. The contentious review will be published in July, but Wollaston wrote to Hunt last month, asking him to reveal the findings ahead of a planned inquiry by the committee into childhood obesity.
"In keeping with the Government's stated policy of increasing transparency within the NHS and medical research, I believe that the department should lead by example and allow the public as well as members of Parliament full and timely access to the report," the Conservative MP argued.
But the Health Secretary insisted that his review was "integral to ongoing policy development" and would be published later this year with a government strategy on childhood obesity.
Here's Oliver's response: