HC Deb 13 April 1999 vol 329 cc194-5W
Mrs. Brinton

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what financial provision has been made for the promotion of breast feeding in each of the last three years in Scotland. [79587]

Mr. Galbraith

The figures in the table show the financial provision directly related to the promotion of breastfeeding in the last three years. They include expenditure in relation to the National Breastfeeding Adviser in Scotland, who provides training, advice and support to NHS personnel and lay workers and acts as a facilitator to local breastfeeding initiatives.

These figures represent only a small part of our investment to promote breastfeeding, which is increasingly being integrated with mainstream health education campaigns. For example, a major publication on pregnancy and early childrearing 'Ready, Steady, Baby' produced and widely distributed by the Health Education Board for Scotland in 1998–99 included a section on breastfeeding; and a recent edition of 02 Magazine—which is sent to all S1 and S2 school pupils—featured breastfeeding in relation environmental, social and health issues. Breastfeeding is also linked with the criteria for eating establishments to achieve a 'Healthy Choices Award' and is identified as a workplace issue, with employers encouraged to provide appropriate facilities within 'Scotland' s Health At Work' award scheme. A dedicated website on breastfeeding to provide information for both public and professional use has also been set up.

The Government are fully committed to the promotion of breastfeeding, which is universally accepted as the best form of nutrition for infants. Our recent White Paper "Towards a Healthier Scotland" identified the health of children as a key area for action. It recognised that breastfeeding and good care in early life can significantly improve a child's chances in life; and it set out proposals for a health demonstration project to focus on the promotion of health from birth and throughout the first 5 years of childhood. One of the potential aims of this project will be to encourage good nutrition through breastfeeding.

1996–97 75,000
1997–98 76,000
1998–99 60,000

From 1 July 1999, this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.