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FPH responds to Labour party public health strategy

Commenting on the launch of Labour’s public health strategy today, Dr John Middleton, Vice President for Policy at the Faculty of Public Health, said:

“There is much to welcome in Labour’s new approach to public health. FPH is pleased that this strategy addresses two of our public health priorities, as identified in our manifesto Start Well, Live Better: increased physical activity for children and  young people, and the introduction of standardised cigarette packaging.

“We welcome the strategy’s focus on protecting children’s health, and this should include investment in children and young people’s mental health services. We also want to see 20mph limits as the maximum speed in built-up areas. This would  help make roads safer and make it easier for people to become more physically active, as this strategy rightly calls for. Creating safer roads is a good example of why empowering individuals can only be one part of the story: it is also important that national and local governments play their part too.

“The living wage and sustainable development set the conditions for better health, and we will be watching all parties’ policies on these key issues to see if they promote good health.

“We welcome the focus on tougher controls of advertising high fat, sugar and salt foods to children. We and our members believe that a sugar tax and minimum unit price for alcohol are also important measures, which are not mentioned in this strategy.

“No matter which form of government we have from May, we need agreement from all political parties that we must address the causes of preventable, lifestyle-related illnesses like diabetes and obesity. Such illnesses and diseases cost the taxpayer millions of pounds that we can ill afford.

“Unless we tackle these issues effectively, the NHS will not be able to survive the increasing pressures. We need an honest discussion about whether we can still have a world-class health system without government intervening, where only it can, to improve and protect our health.”

Written: 15/01/2015 , last modified: 17/09/2015