Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 16th December 2014.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control; and what representations his Department received on the potential implications of the Declaration before June 2013.

Photo of Kris Hopkins Kris Hopkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My Department has not undertaken any formal assessment or review, nor am I aware of any representations prior to June 2013. It is for individual councils to determine whether they wish to sign up to such a voluntary, local government-led initiative.

Notwithstanding, as stated in the Government’s 2011 Tobacco Control Plan for England, we recognise there may be legitimate operational reasons for local authorities to deal with the tobacco industry, such as action by trading standards to tackle the illicit tobacco trade (which is frequently linked to low-level and large-scale organised crime; costs taxpayers’ money through tax evasion; and makes it easier for children to smoke).

Moreover, further to the Government’s recent evidence to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry on litter (21 October 2014, Reference LIT0093), we believe that councils and the wider public sector, as well as manufacturers and associated trade bodies, need to work together to tackle smoking-related litter – especially given the public smoking ban has increased smoking outside. Councils now have public health responsibilities, but this should not prevent joint working on litter and action to keep our streets clean.

In both cases, we would recommend that all dealings are fully transparent.

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