Pubs could be forced to slap calorie counts all alcoholic drinks as part of the Government’s crackdown on obesity.
Under plans being drawn up by Matt Hancock’s Health Department, larger chains would need to disclose the amount of calories in every beer, wine and spirit ordered in their bars.
The scheme, thought not to apply to local establishments, would see calories advertised on pump labels and menus at franchises like Greene King and Fuellers.
All alcohol sold in shops could also be legally-bound to publish the same information as well as a health warning in the latest bid to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.
As well as details of how fattening the booze can be, the plans would additionally see labels include information on the dangers of drink-driving.
Liquid lunch! These friends wrap up in coats and perch on a table outside a pub in Bath on Tuesday afternoon
Two young women drinking wine outside a bar on Old Compton Street, Soho, London, on Tuesday
The proposals, affecting any business with 250 or more people, therefore including most major pub chains, could undergo a 12-week consultation shortly, according to the Sun.
Public health minister Jo Churchill is said to be arguing that around a twelfth of drinkers’ calorie intake comes from alcohol and that the poorest and most overweight could be better off as a result.
While ministers have not yet calculated the wider benefits to consumers, there are fears that the plans will strike a £92 million blow to an industry already decimated by the Covid crisis over the last 12 months.
Free market think tank, the Adam Smith Institute, told the paper: ‘We don’t need government enforced calorie counts to tell us something we already know.’
Boss Matt Kilcoyne added: ‘Ministers thinking up this madness should stop and drop the policy.
‘Let the publicans and the punters do what they want in the pubs without Mr Hancock wagging his finger each time a pint is pulled.’
Crowds pack into an outdoor pizza bar in central London on Tuesday night as a semblance of normal life resumes
People knock back pints of Italian lager with their pizzas in central London tonight
It comes after Boris Johnson said yesterday that people shouldn’t become careless now that restrictions were starting to be eased, cautioning that it was because of lockdown rules that virus transmission is reduced, not the vaccines.
‘At the moment I cannot see any reason for us to change the roadmap or deviate from the targets we’ve set ourselves,’ he said. ‘But it is very very important that if we are to get there in the way we want, that people continue to be cautious, and exercise restraint.’
Thousands of drinkers were seen flocking to their usual hangouts, albeit with outdoor seating, in London Manchester and other major cities this afternoon.
London’s Soho was packed as bars set-up outdoor seating areas in the street to welcome back customers for the first time since December.
And at one pub, the Fox on the Hill, in London, the whole parking area was converted into a make-shift outdoor area – which was this afternoon filled with revellers rushing to return to their local watering hole.