Steve Brine: I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Witham (Priti Patel) on putting a lot of things on the record in a very short space of time and on securing the debate. My right hon. Friend and I entered the House together eight and a half years ago and have known each other for even longer; I know that she is a strong campaigner and has been for years, and was delighted when she got the...
Steve Brine: It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr Bone. I, too, congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for North East Derbyshire (Lee Rowley) on securing the debate. As vice chair of the all-party parliamentary group on ovarian cancer, the subject means a great deal to him. We also heard more about why it means a lot to him. I place on record my thanks to the all-party group and to the excellent...
Steve Brine: I will certainly cover that. Put bluntly, as I will come on to in a second, and as almost all hon. Members have mentioned, it is about early detection. That has an impact because, as the former chair of the all-party parliamentary group on cancer, my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron), has said many times, early diagnosis is cancer’s “magic key”....
Steve Brine: This June we published chapter 2 of the childhood obesity plan, which built on the world-leading measures we introduced in 2016 and included bold plans to halve childhood obesity by 2030. Our consultations on banning energy drinks and on calorie labelling are now open. Later this year we will be consulting on promotion and marketing restrictions, including suggestions of a 9 pm watershed.
Steve Brine: I can, and the plan covers many Departments, which was why I recently announced the trailblazer programme to support innovative local action with local authorities. That has the commitment of key policy teams across many Departments to support participating councils to harness the potential of what they can do and learn from others.
Steve Brine: Like my hon. Friend, I pay tribute to Prospect Vale. I have many similar examples in Winchester. We absolutely recognise the importance of physical activity in tackling obesity, which is why as part of chapter 2 we are promoting a new national ambition for all primary schools in England to adopt an active mile initiative.
Steve Brine: This Government are investing heavily in school sports through the school sport premium. For instance, the money raised from the soft drinks industry levy—the sugar tax—is going directly to supporting schools’ investment in sports, for instance through the Daily Mile campaign, which has just been mentioned.
Steve Brine: Yes, and I am a big supporter of breastfeeding—I have supported it a lot in my constituency, and we engage regularly with the sector. I will be interested in any proposals that the hon. Lady has.
Steve Brine: Yes, we are fully committed to ensuring that the most innovative cancer treatments are available to patients on the NHS. Since 2016, the radiotherapy modernisation programme has seen £130 million of new investment to ensure that all new equipment is capable of delivering advanced radiotherapy.
Steve Brine: It is good to see the hon. Gentleman in his place and looking so well—I am glad we looked after him well. He is absolutely right that access to advanced radiotherapy treatments is critical, as is getting them against the key standard. I would be very pleased to meet his all-party group and discuss its manifesto for radiotherapy.
Steve Brine: We continue to make good progress against our 2013 AMR strategy ambitions. According to the latest figures, since 2013, antibiotic prescriptions dispensed by GPs have decreased by 13%, and sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals dropped by 27%.
Steve Brine: I will look at what can be added to the Matt Hancock app—there is always room for more. As luck would have it, today Public Health England has launched its latest “Keep Antibiotics Working” national public awareness campaign, which aims to educate the public about the risks of AMR and urges them always to take the advice of their healthcare professionals on antibiotics and,...
Steve Brine: Absolutely. The UK is a global leader in tackling AMR and we are currently working on the refresh of our strategy. I was at the G20 earlier this month, where Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, showed world leadership and led an exercise with world leaders to strengthen understanding by showing how developed countries would tackle an outbreak.
Steve Brine: This Government have a strong track record on public health. Local authorities in England are supported by ring-fenced public health grants of more than £16 billion over the current spending review period. Decisions on future funding are, of course, for the next spending review.
Steve Brine: As I said, we are spending £16 billion of our constituents’ money during this spending review period on public health grants. Decisions about where we go in future are of course not a matter for me but for the Chancellor in the spending review. This House decided in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to make every upper tier local authority a public health authority. We believe...
Steve Brine: As I suspect the hon. Gentleman knows, I do not have that figure at my fingertips, but I will provide it to him. Health visitors are a critical part of the puzzle, and local authorities are well aware of that, as are Ministers.
Steve Brine: We certainly will. I do not wish to pre-empt what the long-term plan will say, but it is an excellent opportunity for us to look at how the NHS can best support people who have or are at risk of developing diabetes, and that includes transformation funding beyond next spring and how technology can be used to help people better manage that long-term condition.
Steve Brine: We are continuing to review the advice from our expert advisory groups on safe levels of folate intake, but, continuing our tradition of announcing things to the House first, I want to inform the House today that we are going to issue a public consultation, as of now, on adding folic acid to flour.
Steve Brine: As my hon. Friend, the chair of the all-party group on smoking and health, knows, those groups are key to delivering our tobacco control plan. We are not complacent at all; the delivery plan that was published in June sets out the actions that different agencies will take to deliver the five-year plan, and that absolutely includes mentor cessation services.
Steve Brine: We will be taking evidence, including from the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment, which is meeting as we speak, to look at the safe upper limit of folate levels. I am particularly keen to get that right, but I am convinced that the evidence shows overwhelmingly that this is something we should be doing.