Monday, 2 July 2018

Shut down the Local Government Association

The march towards state control of the food supply is accelerating at such a pace that even the craziest ideas barely raise an eyebrow. On Friday, the Local Government Association made a new demand that passed almost without comment.

Off the back of some politically driven nonsense from Public Health England about the 'clustering' of takeaway shops in 'deprived' (ie. urban) areas, Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“We urgently need to take action to tackle child obesity and councils are playing their part, but need more planning powers to help tackle this epidemic [sic] which has made the UK the most obese nation in western Europe [actually, that's Malta - CJS].

“Councils appreciate that a flourishing hospitality sector in our towns and cities is good for local economies and where they have introduced restrictions on takeaways are working with businesses to help create healthier menus for their customers.

“Numerous councils have set curbs on new fast food outlets but current legislation means they lack planning powers to tackle the clustering of existing takeaways already open.

“New legislation is needed to empower councils to help drive forward an effective redesign of damaging food environments to help address health inequalities and tackle the obesity crisis, which requires a joined-up approach.”

Leave aside the fact that the evidence does not support the belief that living near a fast food outlet makes you more likely to be obese.* And leave aside the fact that people should be free to eat wherever they want. What the LGA is saying here is incredible. Not only do they want to stop new food outlets from opening, they want to have the power to close down businesses that are already trading

'Sorry Mr Smith. We know your fish and chip shop's been here for 100 years, but our data tell us that there is an over-supply of fast food in the area so we're shutting you down.'

'Sorry Mr Wang. Your Chinese takeaway might be popular but the rate of obesity in this ward is higher than the national average, so it's the Jobcentre Plus for you.'

What are these people thinking? When did destroying local businesses become an explicit goal of the Local Government Association? How do we shut this obscene organisation down before they shut the high street down?

It somehow comes as no surprise to find that Izzi Seccombe is a Conservative councillor.

* Public Health England lie about this in their document, claiming that 'There is a growing body of evidence on the association between exposure to fast food outlets and obesity, although some studies show mixed results.'

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