Restaurants, cafes and pubs will be forced to put calorie counts for the food they serve on menus under government plans revealed in the Queen’s Speech.
The new laws will make it compulsory for hospitality businesses with more than 250 employees to calorie label food in a bid to tackle obesity.
It risks a backlash from the sector which has been one of the hardest hit by forced closures during the coronavirus pandemic.
Boris Johnson’s wide-ranging legislative agenda for the new parliament promises to come forward with proposals for reforming social care this year.
But it does not commit to new laws to bring reforms into force, which is likely to provoke fresh criticism as the prime minister has failed so far to follow through on his 2019 pledge to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared”.
Johnson’s “levelling up” agenda also remains vague, with plans for a new white paper later this year on improving livelihoods and opportunity across the UK, but no commitment to overarching legislation in this parliament.
Elsewhere, a centrepiece health and care bill will give ministers more power over the accountability of NHS England, ban junk food adverts online and before the 9pm TV watershed, and make it easier for different parts of the health sector to work together.
A skills bill will give individuals access to four years’ worth of student loans for higher education qualifications at any point during their lives, in order to help people retrain and find new jobs in the changing world of work.
Plans to ban local authorities and other public authorities from boycotting products from certain nations, for example councils boycotting products from Israel, are likely to prove controversial.
Promised new laws to speed up the planning process could also risk a Tory backlash following a rebellion against using an algorithm for deciding where new homes should be built.
The government will also unveil plans to capitalise on new freedoms from Brexit, including laws to govern how public bodies can subsidise businesses now the UK is free from the EU’s state aid regime.
Legislation will also be introduced to underpin the setting up of freeports, which offer tax reliefs for businesses.
Johnson’s plan also includes an environment bill to set new legally binding green targets.
And the government will abolish the coalition-era fixed-term parliaments act to put the power to call elections back in the hands of the PM.
Laws to require voters to produce photo ID when casting their ballots are likely to be the focus of a battle in the months ahead.