These ideas have not been agreed by anyone at present.  They could be part of our contribution to the development of Labour Public Health Policy. For that purpose they need to be very concise.

  1. The supply of tobacco products to anyone born after 1.1.2000 is made an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act
  2. Remove the exemption from VAT from refined sugar on the basis that it has no nutritional value.
  3. Put health warnings on any product which contains more than 20% refined sugar.  (Calculated without taking account of any water, so sugary drinks would count.)
  4. Ban the use of trans fats in food products (as has been done in Denmark) – and push for the ban to be extended throughout the EU.
  5. Anyone selling more than a lethal dose of alcohol to a customer must notify the NHS of the sale and the customer’s name and address. The idea is to make selling alcohol a bureaucratic chore, so retailers could be required to weigh customers in order to calculate their lethal dose.
  6. Remove VAT from bicycles and bicycle related equipment.
  7. Require every responsible local authority to publish expenditure on transport measures divided between walking, cycling, public transport and motor vehicles.
  8. Extend the Active Travel (Wales) Act to England.
  9. Require every company to publish a table showing the pay of all employees broken down by hourly rates.
  10. Ensure that all public employers (and their contractors) pay at least the living wage.
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30 Comments

  1. Under 2 add reduce or eliminate sugar content from all breakfast cereals aimed at children. No advertising of junk food to children on TV. It is obvious poverty contributes to poor health, living wage should be adequate.

  2. Simon Kirk says:

    Can’t help thinking we’re not going to look very politically coherent or competent with most of these…

    1. Is enforcement to be a Policing priority?
    2. Making it Added rather than Refined potentially challenges industry as per Action on Sugar’s position but is adding VAT to the sugar people stir into their tea going to be a credible starting point and political position?
    3. If this includes fruit juices and honey for example, same concern as 2.
    4. Agree.
    5. What will the NHS do with the list of names of people who, having been weighed in public (or provided legally acceptable evidence to an online retailer) have bought a case of wine or a bottle of spirits? (as either presumably constitute a lethal dose if it is assumed they are to be consumed in one go)
    6. Is there any evidence of a causal relationship, or even correlation, between a 20% reduction in the price of bicycles and health gain due to increased cycling or are other reasons more significant in deterring cycling?
    7. To what end? How are we to make sense of the expenditure comparisons?
    8. Agree.
    9. What is the purpose/perceived benefit of requiring this?
    10. Wouldn’t it be simpler as well as equitable (and make 9. unnecessary) to increase the minimum wage to the level of the living wage?

    1. Martin Rathfelder says:

      The National Minimum Wage is a legal requirement. The Living wage is locally calculated, but not legally enforced.

  3. dinah morley says:

    1. Does this mean that anyone born after 2000 will for ever be unable to purchase tobacco? not a bad idea but may not be quite what you mean?
    5. may need to make this simpler, by stating limits, heights etc.

    I would like to see attention to children’s mental health on the list as it is a major public health issue, with a knock on across the life span. For example – all child health screening to include screening for mental disorder.

  4. Nicholas Poulcherios. says:

    Al the very top sounds good; but we are missing something that needs to be regained and protected,and must be said and coined in the nation’s hearts and minds..our NHS; must be and remain for the Nation ; No to privatisation. No to the selling bit by bit to Private companies. Ditto for the Railways; and for our Royal Mail..get all these back. Bring more industry back to us. And regain our Energy companies.

  5. Julie Reay says:

    Add fluoride to water in London.

  6. Alex Scott-Samuel says:

    Yes to 2,3,4,6,9,10 – and much more importantly, since healthcare is an important determinant of health – RENATIONALISE THE NHS

  7. Brian Gibbons says:

    This is a good list to start a debate.

    Why restrict flouridation of water to London?

    Do we need to say something on minimum alcohol pricing?

    Should it be a planning requirement that every housing estate above a certain size have a range of public facilities such as community centres, shops, bus stops, play-grounds, cycle lanes etc?

    Should occupational health be integrated into the NHS or, as in France, every company either provides an occupational health service or pays a levy for it to be provided collectively.

    Some concerns about No 9 re publishing pay rates .. not clear about it purpose from the public health perspective even if levels of income are a major association with health. Would it include over-time rates? Would it aggregated figures?

    1. Julie Reay says:

      Fluoride is naturally occurring in many parts of the UK like the Midlands, it could be added anywhere it is not naturally occurring, but London has the largest population without, and emergency services in London are reporting dental emergencies as rising. Tooth decay in children in London is now at the highest for several decades.

  8. Martin Rathfelder says:

    Items 9 and 10 are an attempt to raise issues about economic inequality in a health context. Maybe there are better ways?

  9. Martin Rathfelder says:

    I forgot to include Minimum Unit Pricing of alcohol. The Government’s rather underwhelming scheme came into effect yesterday

  10. I think the government should just go the “whole nine yards” and fit CCTV cameras into every home in the UK. Then completely clear all unemployment by employing anyone without a job to monitor the CCTVs.

    1. Julie Reay says:

      Why did you bother to waste your key strokes…….?

      1. Frosty says:

        Probably because his reply is a far more sensible than any of this socialist claptrap being spouted by the rest of you, where do you lot think we are East Germany?

        1. chriskitcher says:

          What is all this fu*king rubbish about individual choice? We have an ill educated population, thanks to Tory education policy, the only way we can get any sense into the public arena is by making laws that these Tory free market tw*ts can’t argue against.

  11. All cyclists should be required to have taken a reasonable cycling proficiency test, carry suitable insurance and also pay some form of road use tax. This would support responsible cycling and reduce accidents.

    Doesn’t anytime think that the list is a bit nannying? A bit statist? Shouldn’t people be encouraged to make their own decisions?

    Just a thought…

  12. lizzie says:

    The only bit I agree with is paying people a living wage. As for the rest, I don’t think the state has any business interfering in adults individual choices. Whether it be tobacco, or e cigs which are harm reduction. Or minimum pricing for alcohol which will affect the poor and pensioners. Nor do we all want to be medicated by putting fluoride in our water when it’s already in toothpaste.

  13. Jonathan Bagley says:

    Regarding sugar having no nutritional value: lock up two men with water but no food, but give one a bag of sugar. Make them each walk around for an hour a day. After three days, let them out, give them a physical test and see who performs best.

  14. Dr Steven Johnson says:

    Martin Rathfelder…can you tell me when you first observed a serious deteriation in your mental health. I do believe I can help you with this rapidly advancing condition…I really do.
    Why don’t we both sit down and sing a song.
    Here we go now. Baa baa black sheep have you any wool…yes sir, yes sir three bags full…diddle doddle diddly dumb didee
    didee diddle dumb…

  15. nearlydead says:

    1 No.Repeal the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act that has killed 1000s of people.
    2.VAT on refined sugar products.Great idea but price increases of 20% on popular foods,biscuits etc a very difficult political sell.
    6.The removing of VAT on cycles.Ed Balls would need more than just a health justification for doing this.How would it be justified economically when the deficit is likely to be £120 billion?
    10.Make the living wage statutory.

  16. Sunex Amures says:

    Well really! What a nasty authortarian little list. Weighing people who wish to buy alcohol? Just sheer spite. You wouldn’t be satisfied unless the whole population had to follow Herr Doktor’s orders by law – but I suspect that is what you’d like. What a horrible, horrilble mind you must have.

  17. chriskitcher says:

    Why not forget the peripheral issues such as those mentioned in the article and look towards policies that seek to end the inequalities in the UK. Whilst we have a current basic medical solution in the NHS we are seeing a gradual capitalist force working towards securing Victorian inequalities in the population as a whole.

    As a more proactive approach we need to be addressing wages and social issues that lead to deprivation and victimising the poor and vulnerable.

    Sadly with this rotten government we must challenge their dismantling of the NHS before it is too late.

    1. bettickner says:

      I basically agree with above, need to ensure chapter 3 of Health and Social Care Act is repealed or effectively dismantled.

      Also Need to think hard about end of life care and how to prevent people dying in hospitals when they should be at home, or if not possible, in palliative care

  18. safariman72 says:

    If this is what you want to push through, why not just abolish democracy and go straight for Capitalism instead, then you can tell everybody what to do.

    Oh wait ………..Silly me, you already are.

    1. safariman72 says:

      Sorry my mistake, I obviously meant Communism.

  19. Edward Spalton says:

    The Germans were well up on research into tobacco and lung cancer in the Thirties. In his table talk the Fuehrer said he would really like to ban tobacco or at least put fearsome warnings on cigarette packets – but thought that was being too bossy and dictatorial!

    I doubt whether any of this will make people live much longer but the tedium of being bossed around will make it feel so and remove the will to live. Save on pensions, I suppose.

    Incidentally there have been serious proposals from medical professionals in Ireland to add lithium to the drinking water in the expectation that it would reduce the number of suicides which have increased dramatically since the financial crash. You missed a trick there.

  20. Dianne Hayter says:

    Re Alc misuse, I don’t think your suggestion is sensible. Why not (a) reduce drink/drive limit for under 21 year olds to 50 (from 80); (b) move to standard packaging; (c) enforce “no sales to people already intoxicated” existing law; (d) introduce Minimum Unit Price; (e) restrict number of off-licences (f) reign back on opening hours.

  21. chriskitcher says:

    Apart from being a rather offensive comment there are times when the general population have to be protected from the corporate greed that insists on feeding off peoples wants at the expense of supplying their needs, The irresponsible sale of foods by multinationals that are high in salt, sugar etc., along with cheap alcohol in order to increase profits has to be controlled if we want a decent society, And don’t even get me started on other corporate greed issues that adversely affect peoples health.

  22. Guy Daly says:

    Agree with all of these.
    Guy Daly

  23. Katy Gardner says:

    I agree with most of these. 5 (re alcohol) is not practical. I also agree with minimal pricing of alcohol. And I agree about Flouridation I do not feel these are nannying proposals. They are public health actions.

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