PROPOSED restrictions on promoting junk food have been delayed after the Scottish Government announced the law will not be put before Holyrood due to the Covid-19 crisis. 

The Restricting Foods Promotions Bill will not be introduced during the current parliamentary session, public health minister Joe FitzPatrick has confirmed. 

HeraldScotland: Camley's Cartoon: Junk food law paused.Camley's Cartoon: Junk food law paused.

In a written answer to George Adam MSP, he said the Scottish Government will "pause" the introduction of the Bill to consider whether a wider approach was needed in light of the Covid-19 lockdown. 

The current legislative session ends in May 2021, meaning the Bill will not be introduced until the second half of next year at the earliest. 

The proposed legislation would have restricted price promotions on junk food, such as "buy one get one free" deals, to tackle obesity and poor diet. 

Mr FitzPatrick said: "Pausing the introduction of the Bill provides us with an opportunity to take stock. 

"It enables us to take into account the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, including on people's diet and healthy weight. 

"We will be able to consider fully whether a more wide-ranging Bill is required to tackle Scotland's diet and weight problem after the pandemic. 

"Tackling poor diet and overweight is a public health priority and remains a priority for this Government." 

Cancer Research UK's cancer prevention expert, Professor Linda Bauld, said there needs to be a clear timeline for the Bill to get back on track. 

She said: "Junk food price promotions encourage shoppers to stock up on unhealthy items so it's vital we see progress to restrict these harmful offers. 

"Obesity is linked to 13 types of cancer. It's also the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. 

"Tackling obesity is crucial if we're to protect the health of future generations." 

She added: "One of the consequences of lockdown has also been that some people are eating more and moving less. 

"There's also worrying evidence that suggests that Covid-19 affects those who are obese more severely. 

"The Bill on Restricting Foods Promotions is an opportunity for Scotland to be bold and become a world leader on improving public health. 

"The Scottish Government must now set out a firm commitment and clear timeline for when things will get back on track."