The government has apparently dropped plans to impose calorie labelling restrictions on hospitality businesses, for both draught and pre-packaged drinks.

Last month a leaked report revealed it was prosing to introduce the labelling requirement for all beer, wine and spirits served in larger out-of-home businesses – those employing more than 250 people.

Public health minister Jo Churchill had reportedly told colleagues that she was planning to launch a 12-week consultation on the plans, which were met with derision from the hospitality sector.

However Downing Street has now confirmed it has scrapped these plans, according to a report by the Evening Standard.

A briefing document published to accompany the Queen’s speech yesterday (11 May) said firms would be required to list calories on food – a move previously announced by Public Health England – but there was no mention of drinks.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman was quoted as saying: “We’ve listened to the feedback from the consultation and we think this is the right approach to take forward now and that’s why we will set out more detail in a consultation response which is coming out later.”

Alongside calorie labelling on out-of-home food, the government will also introduce a ban on junk food adverts before 9am on television and plans to introduce a total ban on online junk food advertisements.

Commenting on the plans laid out in the Queen’s speech on calorie labelling and the ban on junk food advertising, Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “The last thing the sector needs after prolonged periods of closure and trading restrictions is unnecessary red tape.

“Hospitality businesses share the Government’s objectives in tackling obesity and improving public health, but at a time of huge economic uncertainty these new rules must strike a balance and be proportionate.

“Layering on new costs for businesses in a sector that has been hardest hit by the pandemic risks prolonging their recovery and business’ ability to invest and create jobs. We urge the Government to consult meaningfully with the sector via the new Office for Health Promotion on any measures that are included in the Bill.”