Beware being caught in the junk rally

The vaccine trade has recently demonstrated such momentum that it risks creating a bubble containing overvalued stocks – and one that is likely unstainable.

That’s not to say the rotation from COVID winners to COVID losers won’t continue while the news of vaccines and treatments dominate the headlines.

“The recent outperformance of the lower quality, more distressed securities with higher volatility is atypical. Historically we find these bouts of outperformance are often short-lived and hence we caution against over-extrapolating this recent development,” Apted says.

State Street is one of the world’s leading fund managers with more than $US3 trillion in assets under management.

It is true that the equity markets around the world including Australia have been more extreme than they have been traditionally.


Those considered to be winners from COVID have rocketed ahead and pandemic victim stocks have been decimated. Energy, real estate investment trusts (REITS) and transport have outperformed during the recent vaccine rotation, while some of the earlier best performing sectors such as information technology, healthcare, gold and consumer discretionary have underperformed the most.

Apted notes that iron ore and some of the metals and miners have managed to buck this trend, outperforming both during the positive vaccine developments and through the year.

Since the recent bout of positive news on the likelihood of a vaccine being approved over the coming months the yawning gap between the performance of the two categories has narrowed significantly.

The extreme outperformance of the COVID winners has, within a matter of weeks, pivoted to extreme outperformance by the COVID losers.

But Apted argues that if you look under the hood at many of the stocks or sectors that have outperformed over the past month, the mechanics are concerning. Based on the recent pivot around share price movements, the only typical characteristic of stock price movement was that cheaper companies outperformed.

Beyond that the market has left the reservation when it comes to conventional investment decisions.

‘If you look under the hood at many of the stocks or sectors that have outperformed over the past month, the mechanics are concerning.’

Bruce Apted, State Street Global Advisors

Firstly, companies that outperformed year to date have significantly underperformed in the vaccine trade.

The riskier companies, as measured by volatility (or Beta as it’s referred to in finance), have performed better as have those with more debt.

Additionally the companies with the worst year to date earnings revisions have outperformed and the share prices of companies with the lowest levels of profitability have surpassed those reporting higher profits.

The recent rise in banks stocks around the world has provided the largest struts supporting the rally in COVID losers.

Locally, Commonwealth Bank is only 10 per cent shy of its pre-COVID high in February after being down 40 per cent during the peak of the pandemic. Westpac has climbed near 27 per cent since early October. (Incidentally, State Street says it didn’t hold the four major banks in October, which negatively impacted its performance.)

ANZ and NAB have also experienced a surge in popularity – in large part because the Australian banks are a proxy for the economy.

There is an expectation that bank earnings will remain under pressure next year and to the extent profits improve it will be the result of lower credit provisions.

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Kellogg’s and Britvic attack plan to ban junk food ads online

In a letter to the prime minister, bosses of firms including Britvic, Kellogg’s and Mars said they supported government efforts to tackle obesity.

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Ban junk food ads on public transport and other WA Government property, health agencies say

Leading health agencies including the Telethon Kids Institute and the Cancer Council want the WA Government to immediately stop advertising junk food on government property like bus shelters, billboards and next to train stations.

The agencies have released a new report which says it will not only improve people’s health but will help save the Government hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade in the fight against obesity and other chronic diseases.

The Cancer Council’s director of cancer prevention, Melissa Ledger, said the ban would be easy for the State Government to put in place.

“We really want to see the Government stop allowing junk food industries to advertise on their property,” she said.

Yagan Square’s giant digital tower in Perth’s CBD is one Government asset used to advertise junk food.(ABC News: Nocilas Perpitch)

Parents like Cat Walker, from Parents’ Voice Australia, said it was hard enough getting her children to eat healthy food without the advertising they saw every day.

“We live on a street that has a bus go by every 15 minutes, and my seven-year-old now reads all the ads out to the other children and they look fun, and he’s like, ‘Why can’t we have slushies, why can’t we have that?'” Ms Walker said.

“I feel the Government needs to be more responsible for marketing to our children. We want a free, healthy environment for them to grow up.”

A head and shoulders shot of a woman with blonde hair and a black hat standing in front of bushland.
Cat Walker says it “doesn’t make any sense” to throw junk food ads at children.(ABC News: Nicolas Perpitch)

Quarter of WA kids overweight or obese

The report was compiled by Deakin University for the Cancer Council WA and the Telethon Kids Institute and has the support of other health agencies, including Healthways, the Australian Medical Association, the WA School Canteen Association and the Public Health Association WA.

It noted just over two in three adults and a quarter of all children in Western Australia were either overweight or obese.

Telethon Kids director Jonathan Carapetis said the social, health and economic implications were substantial if the trend continued.

“Yet in the next 10 years it will cost them more than $600 million a year to care for the chronic diseases that result from that sort of advertising that leads to kids eating and drinking junk foods.”

The Government’s own Sustainable Health Review, released in April 2019, called for a ban on unhealthy food and drink promotions on all state premises, as part of efforts to stop the rise in obesity in WA by July 2024.

The report pointed to four other jurisdictions which already had regulations in place banning advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages specifically on public-owned assets.

London, the Australian Capital Territory and Amsterdam target public transport, while Brazil focuses on the Ministry of Health and its property.

An overweight child holds his hands to his stomach
A junk food ad ban would help tacke obesity levels among children and adults, health agencies say.(Flickr: Kiril Pipo)

‘Profit above health’ a big obstacle

The report said common factors in those jurisdictions were effective partnerships across levels of government, academia and non-governmental organisations, backed by strong political leadership.

But it warned there could be opposition from the food, media and advertising industries.

An advertisement for Hungry Jacks drinks at a bus stop, with a woman riding a bike off to the right.
Parents say the Government should be more responsible for junk food advertisements.(ABC News: Jon Sambell)

“One of the big obstacles to this not happening is really the self-interests of the industries and putting profit above health,” Ms Ledger said.

Regardless, Ms Walker and the health agencies ultimately want tighter guidelines around marketing towards children overall.

“It doesn’t make any sense.”

No commitment from government

Health Minister Roger Cook did not say the Government would immediately implement the ban.

He instead pointed to a range of measures the Government was taking to encourage healthy eating among West Australians.

Mr Cook said the Government recently committed to phasing out alcohol advertising on public transport and “further restrictions on advertising may be considered in future as part of the Sustainable Health Review”.

A pile of junk food and snacks.
Junk food leads to chronic diseases and a massive public health cost, critics say.(Dave Hunt, file photo: AAP)

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Covid: Student anger over ‘junk’ food parcels in isolation

Image caption

A student isolating in Nottingham was given bread, jam and an apple for breakfast

Universities are facing anger from students over conditions some have faced while self-isolating in campus accommodation.

Students have criticised the cost and quality of food provided to them by universities while in isolation.

Undergraduates say food parcels have often been filled with “junk”, meaning they have had to request fresh fruit and vegetables from parents.

Institutions said they were working hard to provide students with supplies.

People told to self-isolate because of coronavirus must stay at home for at least 10 days under rules punishable by fines.

Universities UK has issued guidance on best practice for supporting students who are required to self-isolate.

‘Expensive prison’

First-year economics and politics student Tess Bailie, 18, began a social media campaign after hearing of especially poor conditions for those isolating on her campus.

Out-of-date food and a lack of catering for religious and dietary requirements are among the complaints at the University of Edinburgh’s Pollock Halls, dubbed the “UK’s most expensive prison”.

“Students are saying the only thing saving them was the fact that half of them have Covid and they can’t taste it anyway,” Ms Bailie said, referring to a common Covid-19 symptom.

The University of Edinburgh admitted there had been a “few occasions when students’ needs have not been met”. But it said these were addressed quickly with work taking place to improve its systems.

In a statement, the university said: “Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our students continues to be our absolute priority.

“We have teams of staff working 24 hours a day to provide those who are self-isolating in our catered and self-catered residences with three meals a day – including ready-to-heat meals – in line with their dietary requirements and preferences. Essential items are also being delivered on request.”

At the University of York, students are given the option of a £70 meal deal providing a sandwich, crisps, chocolate bar and water for every day they are in self-isolation. For three meals a day, students are charged £170 for the isolation period.

While the university said the food was freshly made, Claire Baseley, a registered nutritionist, said a daily sandwich would be unlikely to provide adequate nutrition for those self-isolating.

“It is important that people do get a variety of vitamins and minerals to support their immune system,” she said.

‘Send veggies’

A first-year psychology student at the University of Birmingham said she and her flatmates must now spend their weekly catering allowance on boxes of food that have included Pot Noodles and frozen ready meals.

They received an initial box free of charge as soon as they reported their self-isolation, but future supplies are uncertain and will come at a cost of £28 per person for six days.

Image caption

Students in Birmingham received one free box full of essentials but must now pay £28 each for similar supplies

She said: “We don’t know if that is enough food to last for our period of isolation in terms of fresh food and vegetables which are lacking. It’s a lot of just like frozen stuff in there.

“We don’t know what will be in the next box but because of the [first box] people from my flat have contacted home and asked for them to send things like vegetables.”

While online teaching has been working well, there are shortages of things such as toilet paper and a £30 charge for washing 7kg of clothes has gone down badly with many students, she added.

The University of Birmingham said its initial food boxes were designed to last two to three days and include ready meals cooked by in-house chefs, which are designed to be nutritious. It said responses to surveys of students were “very positive” and that the laundry service is offered at a discount by a local dry cleaning company.

Some universities are not charging for providing food and toiletries however, as this bundle of provisions from Lancashire’s Edge Hill University shows:

Image copyright
Edge Hill University

Image caption

Part of the weekly provisions for a group of six to eight students

Vice Chancellor John Cater said anyone isolating was being given free food whether they were in catered halls or not.

Crisps for breakfast

At the University of Nottingham, one history student said the university should have been more prepared for possible cases – and students having to isolate – after it took a week for issues with food supplies to be resolved.

The teenager is in catered halls with breakfast and dinner usually provided and £25 for lunches each week – but she has been self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus.

Meals have been provided – but she said some days, lunches weren’t brought. And one day, her breakfast was crisps, a chocolate bar, an apple and a juice box – while the person in a neighbouring room had bread, butter and jam.

“It was really bad,” she said. “They kept missing days. I tried calling as well, but no-one answered.”

Things have improved in recent days, she added.

A spokesperson for the University of Nottingham said it apologised to a small number of students in halls who had experienced issues with their catering and was working on a new process.

They said: “Our staff have been working hard to support our students who are self-isolating, along with their households, in accordance with public health guidelines.

“We recognise how difficult this will be for all our students who are affected, many of whom are away from home for the first time, and we thank them for their co-operation in following the rules, doing the right thing, and helping to contain the virus.”

One 18-year-old who recently started Durham University and told not to come into contact with anyone else said food boxes there were filled with “junk food and a lot of dry food”.

“I’ve been going to bed with stomach pains because I’m hungry. It’s making my throat hurt and making me dehydrated,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Durham pro-vice-chancellor Jeremy Cook said he apologised to those students who felt they had not been given sufficient, or healthy, food. “But we have acted fast, listened to our students and recognised their concerns.”

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition accusing Lancaster University of “profiting” from self-isolating students with food deliveries, while the University of East Anglia cut the cost of its food supplies after a backlash.

Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, vice-president of higher education at the National Union of Students, said students were being seen as “pounds not people” and universities need to remember their “duty of care” towards them.

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Illinois’ rating likely cut to junk if income tax measure fails -Citi

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CHICAGO — Illinois is “almost guaranteed” a credit rating downgrade to junk if its voters next month reject a constitutional amendment allowing the state to tax high-income residents more, a Citi research report said on Monday.

However, Citi argued against non-investment-grade ratings for any U.S. state given the greater flexibility of states to weather fiscal crises than most U.S. corporations.

Illinois is the lowest-rated state at a notch above junk, with negative outlooks from all three major credit rating agencies.

Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings recently issued warnings about Illinois’ struggle with a huge unfunded pension liability and structural budget deficit that has been exacerbated by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

“If Moody’s downgrades Illinois (general obligation bonds) to speculative grade, we expect other rating agencies to follow suit,” the Citi report said. “The first downgrade will likely cause spreads to widen by about 50 (basis points), while the following downgrades should not have any impact.”

The spread for 10-year Illinois bonds over Municipal Market Data’s benchmark triple-A yield scale has been widening, increasing from 213 basis points on Sept. 1 to 271 basis points as of Monday.

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UFO theories end up on space archaeologist’s junk heap

The release of UFO videos by a secret American government agency has many people believing in the X-Files, but Flinders University’s Alice Gorman says there is a much more mundane answer.

Last month the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force (UAPTF) re-emerged from the shadows after it was forced to officially release videos of UFO sightings that had been leaked to the media.

The UAPTF is responsible for recording sightings of UFOs in the United States and despite assertions the program was disbanded in 2012 it continued to operate within the Naval Office.

The once-secret agency was thrust into the spotlight following the authorised release in May of previously leaked footage of encounters between US military pilots and UFOs.

The three infrared videos captured in 2004 and 2015 had been leaked in 2007 and 2017 respectively.

The New York Times published two of the videos and Tom DeLonge’s organisation To the Stars published the third, causing widespread speculation about the flying objects and alien invasion theories.

However, Flinders University space archaeologist Associate Professor Alice Gorman says that although the idea of Scully and Mulder discovering hidden extra-terrestrials on the X-Files captures the imagination, the UFOs are probably caused by something much more mundane.

“These things are far more boring than when you can imagine anything you’d like,” Gorman says of the alien theories.

“It’s almost like a cultish belief. And you could believe within the US military, that there could be groups of people who kind of reinforce each other’s beliefs,”

Gorman, who wrote the book Dr Space Junk vs The Universe, says a more likely explanation for the objects in the videos is space junk returning to earth.

She says there were more than 8000 metric tonnes of space junk – ranging from cosmic dust to inactive satellites – orbiting Earth at the beginning of this year.

“The stuff that comes back into Earth is generally space junk – the most common component to survive [re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere] is titanium alloy pressure vessels that are used to fuel systems that are really robust,” Gorman says.

“I would also say I think it’s incredibly unlikely that you would find the remnants of stuff that was not a human [made] or a natural object.

“Even if we don’t know what it is just now, the likelihood that it is some natural phenomenon or it’s a misinterpretation of some kind of vehicle we already know about is the most likely explanation.”

Gorman says that our skies are so well monitored it would be hard to miss alien craft.

“There are so many government organisations and amateur organisations who are watching the sky that I think it is very unlikely that some non-human spacecraft would slip through the net,” she says.

“Now there are things like drones and other types of aerial vehicles that we didn’t use to have.”

Gorman says the UAPTF plan to make its findings public in the next six months could be to limit the speculation caused by the previously leaked videos.

“I do think the timing is really interesting because they weren’t terribly interested in being transparent [about UFOs] before,” Gorman says.

“They probably figured it was better to let some stuff out and let the public speculate about what that is than have uncontrolled speculation.

“It could be damage control… The easiest way to say something is not alien is to say, ‘here it is, judge for yourself’.”

No matter the plausible explanations, further sightings of unidentifiable objects over military bases in the US have caused concern amongst some American politicians.

Republican senator Marco Rubio says adversaries may be responsible for the UFOs, suggesting there have been technological advancements allowing other countries to spy on the US.

Around 72 different government space agencies were in existence worldwide as of 2018, with 14 boasting the capacity to launch spacecraft.

Gorman says concerns surrounding espionage are overblown because agencies often engage with researchers to allow the development of technological advancements to be transparent.

“The idea that there are super-secret technologies seems a little far-fetched,” she says.

“There are new technologies being developed all the time – some of those are in the military domain and some of them aren’t.

“If there was some secret aerial technology that other countries were using to spy on the US, I think there would be issues as there are heaps of people keeping an eye on these things.”

The three declassified videos

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Boris’s junk food ad ban a ‘slap in the face’ for food industry’ after coronavirus heroics

Banning junk food advertising was today branded a ‘slap in the face’ for Britain’s food and drink industry after its hard work to keep the nation fed during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Producers and advertising industry figures warned that jobs could be at risk as it was revealed Boris Johnson is considering taking drastic steps to curb the UK’s obesity problem.

Ministers are said to support moves to ban junk food adverts from TV before the 9pm watershed and outlaw online ads altogether. 

Retail and advertising executives have been told the plans will include a ban on TV ads for junk food such as burgers and chocolate before 9pm. A ban on online adverts is also expected, as are restrictions on buy-one-get-one-free supermarket deals.  

But the industry hit back at the plans, saying the move was not necessary.  

Tim Rycroft, chief operating officer of the Food and Drink Federation, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘If these rumours are true the Government is about to deliver a slap in the face to the food industry which has worked so heroically over the last four months to keep the nation fed at some considerable risk to itself.

 The Prime Minister (pictured today at a London medical centre)  is set to unveil a new anti-obesity strategy next week after being warned that his weight may have contributed to his brush with death when he contracted coronavirus this year

Tam Fry

Stephen Woodford

Stephen Woodford (right), chief executive of the Advertising Association, said the UK already had the ‘the strictest rules in the world on advertising’ high fat and salty foods. And Tam Fry (left), of the National Obesity Forum, told the BBC’s Today Programme Boris Johnson’s ‘|experience in St Thomas’s Hospital was a real game changer’

Boris Johnson in his running gear in Downing Street in May. He is said to have been shocked by the impact his weight had on his fight with coronavirus

Boris Johnson in his running gear in Downing Street in May. He is said to have been shocked by the impact his weight had on his fight with coronavirus

PM’s coronavirus journey from food freedom champion to obesity clampdown

Mr Johnson was long a libertarian on eating and drinking, speaking out against efforts by Jamie Oliver to reform school meals. 

But he appears to have undergone a more interventionalist conversion since his illness in the spring.

He first hit the headline son the subject in 2006 when he lashed out at Jamie Oliver over the celebrity chef’s attempts to reform school meals. 

Then a junior shadow minister he garnered headlines by criticising Mr Oliver’s efforts at one school which resulted in parents giving their children pies through the fence.

At a fringe event at the 2006 Conservative Party conference he told a fringe event: ‘if I was in charge I would get rid of Jamie Oliver and tell people to eat what they like’.

He later added: ‘I say let people eat what they like. Why shouldn’t they push pies through the railings?’.

He went on to say: ‘I would ban sweets from school – but this pressure to bring in healthy food is too much.’

He later denied criticising Mr Oliver, calling him a ‘saint’.

Last summer he declared war on ‘sin taxes’ on sugary and fatty foods – as he warns they hit the poorest with higher bills.

During his Tory leadership campaign he promised to review Theresa May’s flagship sugar tax on fizzy drinks. He also vowed to freeze new taxes on HFSS foods and argued those who want to lose weight should just exercise more.

But his hospitalisation with coronavirus is believed to have shocked him into a change of heart.

Earlier this month he admitted that he had taken a ‘very libertarian stance’ in the past but stressed that the effects of obesity cannot be ‘ignored’. 

‘Compare I’m afraid this wonderful country of ours to other European countries, we are significantly fatter than most others – apart from the Maltese for some reason,’ he said.

‘It is an issue…. Everybody knows that this is a tough one.’

Mr Johnson added: ‘I think it matters and I don’t think politicians can treat is as irrelevant.’

Mr Johnson has been spotted in recent weeks running in London – including at Buckingham Palace, and in an interview with the Mail on Sunday he declared he was ‘as fit as a butcher’s dog’ before doing press-ups in his office.

‘It is going to ban promotions of food ten days before the Chancellor launches the biggest food promotion the food proportion the country has ever seen.

‘It is going to put enormous costs on the advertising industry and on broadcasters at a time when the economy is in quite a tenuous situation.’ 

The Prime Minister is set to unveil a new anti-obesity strategy next week after being warned that his weight may have contributed to his brush with death when he himself contracted coronavirus this year. 

He has previously spoken out against curbs on junk food. In 2006, as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver campaigned on improving school meals, he told the Conservative Party Conference: ‘If I was in charge I would get rid of Jamie Oliver and tell people to eat what they like … why shouldn’t they push pies through the railings?’

But an anti-obesity campaigner suggested his own illness had changed his mind.

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, told the BBC’s Today Programme: ‘I think his experience in St Thomas’s Hospital was a real game changer and I believe this was the reason why he has suddenly become  so involved in curing obesity.

‘He knows full well his weight was a great problem when they came to treat him.’

Asked about the plans today, Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m not normally a believer in nannying… type of politics.

‘Losing weight is, frankly, one of the ways that you can reduce your own risks from Covid.’ 

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association, said the UK already had the ‘the strictest rules in the world on advertising’ high fat and salty foods.

‘They limit exposure of the under 16s to advertising, so particularly when it affects children they are seeing much less advertising from this sort of food,’ he told Times Radio.

‘Actually the evidence is pretty weak for the direct connection between advertising and obesity levels. When you look around the world … (marketing agency) McKinsey did a huge study that looked at all the different factors (and) I think it was 14th on the list of factors that affects obesity levels both in children and adults.

‘There are many more effective measures to control obesity and to reduce obesity.

‘It’s quite easy to call for something that is the most visible to be reduced or restricted – it is already heavily restricted and further restrictions won’t do the trick.’

The Prime Minister has ruled out introducing new ‘sin taxes’ such as the sugar tax on soft drinks. But he is considering new labelling laws designed to make it much easier for people to avoid products that are high in fat and salt.

Mr Johnson is also expected to launch a major drive to encourage people to walk and cycle, with millions poured into building new bike lanes.

Obesity is a major risk factor in coronavirus patients, with the overweight much more likely to need hospital treatment or even die. Diabetes is also known to be a major risk.

Boris reveals post-Covid weight-loss

Boris Johnson revealed he has lost more than a stone in weight since his coronavirus scare today as he urged Britis to join him in getting fit this summer to ward off the worst of the disease.

The Prime Minister urged podgy Brits to shed the pounds, with studies showing that being overweight makes the illness far worse.

Mr Johnson spent a week in intensive care in May after coming down with coronavirus and is believed to have been shocked that his weight may have played a part in the seriousness of his condition.

Speaking on a visit to a London health centre today to encourage uptake of the winter flu jab the PM, who has been photographed running since his return to Downing Street, told reporters:  ‘I’m on the way, I’ve lost about a stone and a bit.

‘Primarily by eating less, but also by a lot of exercise.’

He declined to give further details of his weight loss regimen. 

Obesity has been flagged as a major risk factor for coronavirus, with researchers finding that obese people have a 37 per cent higher risk of dying from it. One in four Britons is obese.    

The Prime Minister, who is now on a diet, is said to have been shocked that his own 17-stone weight may have put him in intensive care when he contracted Covid-19.

He is said to be ‘obsessed’ with the issue, telling aides: ‘It’s all right for you thinnies.’ The PM, who was previously sceptical of ‘nanny state’ interventions on obesity, has now ruled that a war on weight must be launched this summer to help people slim down before a possible second wave of the virus this winter.

Last month he said: ‘We will be happier, fitter and more resistant to diseases like Covid if we can tackle obesity.’

But any move is likely to be controversial – and would deal a serious blow to commercial broadcasters already hit by a dramatic fall in revenue this year as a result of the recession sparked by the lockdown.

Downing Street declined to comment last night. This morning Social Care Minister Helen Whateley declined to comment on a leak.

But she told BBC Breakfast: ‘Half of adults are overweight, one in five children leaving primary school are obese and obesity brings with it a whole host of health challenges.

‘Very particularly with Covid you’re at greater risk of getting Covid, greater risk of complications, greater risk – very sadly – of dying from Covid, if you are overweight.’

She added: ‘As it is such an important health challenge we have to take it on and the Prime Minister is committed to making sure we tackle obesity.’

Last month, Mr Johnson said politicians cannot treat obesity as ‘irrelevant’ and that the issue is ‘hugely costly for the NHS’.

He told Times Radio that the UK was ‘significantly fatter’ than most European countries, and added: ‘We certainly must have a care for the health of our population and we will be happier and fitter and more resistant to diseases like Covid if we can tackle obesity.

Boris Johnson in 2006

Jamie Oliver

In 2006, when he was shadow higher education minister, Mr Johnson hit out at Jamie Oliver’s campaign for healthier school meals, telling the Tory party conference: ‘If I was in charge I would get rid of Jamie Oliver and tell people to eat what they like.’

Retail and advertising executives have been told the plans will include a ban on TV ads for junk food such as burgers and chocolate before 9pm (file image)

Retail and advertising executives have been told the plans will include a ban on TV ads for junk food such as burgers and chocolate before 9pm (file image)

 Mr Fry added that the reported measures around junk food advertising were ‘not enough’ and they ‘may have an impact but will not be the answer you need to have an across-the-board approach to everything in life which affects obesity’.

The chairman of the National Obesity Forum added: ‘All Boris Johnson has done at the moment is identify two or three areas where he thinks that he probably will have the quickest return.’

Mr Fry said he hopes ‘the penny has dropped’ about the importance of tackling obesity.

He explained: ‘My hope is that this is the epiphany moment of the Government to do something positive which will have a real effect on both the nation’s health and individual obesity.’

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Once ‘clutter and junk around farm sheds’, these 100yo horse-drawn carriages are getting new lives

Restoring a part of Tasmania’s history is a labour of love for Rick Anderson.

The National Trust volunteer painstakingly restores historic horse-drawn carriages bit-by-bit at his Launceston home.

Mr Anderson says his skills as a sign writer come in handy for the important task.

“I still like to work with paint, I still like to create things and I always will,” he said.

The carriages were rotting away until Mr Anderson got his hands on them and returned them to their former glory.

The carriages Rick Anderson restores are often in a sorry state when he finds them.(ABC News: Damian McIntyre)

He’s restored three historic carriages so far and has now started work on his fourth.

Mr Anderson said the carriages, which are all at least 100 years old and take hundreds of hours of work, were in a sorry state when he found them.

“They’re shocking … some of them are really bad,” he said.

Matthew Smithies from the National Trust agrees.

“We had a dead possum on one seat, we had wheels that had entirely rotted through due to being on damp ground,” he said.

‘Clutter and junk’

The work is a test of Mr Anderson’s skills.

“It’s a boost, a real boost to the way you are and its good to get all my old tools out which has been laying around new for years,” he said.

“Each day I just come out and do a bit more and then I do a bit more and then before I know it you’ve just got a carriage.

Rick Anderson uses a screw driver to scrape debris off an old horse-drawn carriage he is restoring
Rick Anderson says it takes hundreds of hours to do one restoration.(ABC News: Damian McIntyre)

Mr Smithies said the carriages helped tell the story of Tasmania.

“They represent the early colonial period in Tasmania which is obviously incredibly important — that’s when a lot of agriculture got developed,” he said.

“Probably 50 years ago they were just clutter and junk around farm sheds, so we’re incredibly lucky to have them.”

Preserving Tasmania’s history

Mr Smith said Mr Anderson was playing an important role in preserving history.

“The conservation project that we’ve undertaken with these is critical,” he said.

Mr Anderson said he was happy to play a part.

“If I can do just a small part to preserve this then so it be,” he said.

The restored carriages are taking pride of place at Clarendon House in the state’s north.

Three horse-drawn carriages lined up on grass outside an old sandstone building
If Rick Anderson didn’t restore these carriages, they’d be “clutter” in farm sheds around Tasmania.(ABC News: Damian McIntyre)

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