Christina Marriott, Chief Executive of RSPH said: "Health promotion is vital if we are to reduce the annual toll of premature and preventable deaths and, as the pandemic has tragically highlighted, the UK is doing very poorly when it comes to health creation.This can be clearly seen in our very high rates of obesity.

"However, given the scale of challenges the UK faces, we are concerned at rumours that no new funding has been secured for this Office. We are concerned that its initial scope seems narrowly defined, with a concentration on prevention of ill-health rather than creation of health. We shall miss an important opportunity if the Office for Health Promotion concentrates on individuals and lifestyles when the evidence shows that the most effective health promotion levers are at the fiscal, tax, planning, societal and environmental levels.

"We hope that this Office will work across Government, with strong influence over all areas of public policy which have an effect on the population’s health, so that the widest number of levers of good health are involved. But the history of Government strategies on, for example, obesity has shown the Government failing to operate with the required ambition across the whole system, and instead focusing on individuals. We need health creation across our whole society, including in employment, in our travel, our food system, our education, our planning and licensing, our fiscal and tax policies – that is how people can be supported to live healthier lives and widening health inequalities can be reduced."