HC Deb 22 July 1997 vol 298 cc556-7W
21. Ms Blears

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking to address the problems of want, idleness, squalor, ignorance and disease. [7964]

Ms Jowell

I addressed Beveridge's five giants in my speech on our new health strategy on 7 July, a copy of which is available in the Library. Our new health strategy will be wider and focus on determinants in health. Want will be tackled through the minimum wage. Idleness through the Welfare to work programme. Squalor through improved housing through the phased release of council house sale receipts; and through policies to improve the environment. Ignorance through education, by encouraging schools to promote health and well-being. Disease through rescuing the NHS banning tobacco advertising, establishing the food standards agency and a £1,000,000 programme of research into the effects of air pollutants commonly found in the home. This will complement research on outdoor pollutants which is already under way.

28. Mr. Prosser

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking to ensure that the Government's public health strategy for England will address the issues of social exclusion. [7971]

Ms Jowell

As announced in my speech on 7 July, improving the health of our nation and tackling the legacy of inequality are matters not just for the Department of Health but are jobs to be confronted across Government. We aim to tackle poverty and inequality through our commitment to helping people move from welfare to work, to ending poverty pay by introducing a national minimum wage, and to improve housing conditions by the phased release of local authority capital receipts.

Of all the important aspects of public health, none exacts a heavier toll in terms of disease and death than smoking. And smoking is a clear proxy for inequalities. There are more poor smokers, and as a result, poor people suffer disproportionately from preventable illness and premature death. That is why the Government have given an undertaking to ban tobacco advertising and promotion, and why we are determined to tackle smoking with the seriousness it deserves. On 14 July, we held an international anti-smoking summit to galvanise concerted action across society, and to learn from the experience of experts from around the world on how best to proceed. We will use the knowledge gained at the summit to inform the development of a White Paper which will be published later this year. The White Paper will set out in full our plans for measures to curb smoking, including our proposals for legislation to ban tobacco advertising.