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Conservative’s short on public health initiatives

Stuart Spear01/06/2017 - 11:36

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Theresa May's policies short on public health
Theresa May's policies short on public health

The Conservatives have pledged to make every car and van zero-emission by 2050 in a manifesto short on policies impacting public or environmental health.

It states that £600 million will be spent by 2020 to make Britain a ‘world leader’ in electric car technology along with money for low emission buses and community mini buses for rural areas poorly served by public transport.

The Tories also plan to ‘support local authorities to expand cycle networks and upgrade facilities for cyclist and railway stations’. When it comes to specifically tackling air quality issues the manifesto simply says ‘we will take action against poor air quality in urban areas’.

The manifesto highlights five main national challenges: the need for a strong economy, a smooth transition under Brexit, enduring social divisions, an ageing society and fact changing technology.

There is no mention of public health although the Conservatives do state they will ‘continue to take action to reduce childhood obesity’ and promote efforts to reduce unhealthy ingredients.

Leaving the EU will give greater flexibility over the presentation of ‘clearer food information for consumers’. A green paper on young people’s mental health will be published before the end of the year while teachers in every primary and secondary school will receive training in mental health first aid by the end of the parliament.

The manifesto reiterates a previous pledge to deliver a million homes by end of 2020 and half a million more by the end of 2020. It will deliver reforms proposed in the Housing White Paper to free up more land for new homes. Government will build 160,000 houses on its own land.

The Conservatives will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ‘ambitious, pro-development-development, local authorities’ to help provide more social housing. New fixed term social housing will be sold privately after 10 to 15 years with an automatic right to buy for tenants, the proceeds being recycled for further homes.

On regulation the Tories have promised to ‘continue to regulate more efficiently’ saving £9 billion through the Red Tape Challenge by applying the one-in-two-out rule.

Shale extraction under the Conservative vision is seen to offer Britain the same benefits it has offered the USA by cutting energy costs and reducing reliance on oversees energy sources. A new shale Environmental Regulator will assume the relevant functions of the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

Planning for non-fracking drilling will be treated as permitted development with expert planning function being established to support local councils. More money will be directed to local communities that host extraction sites.

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