§ Mrs. Brinton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there is an adequate supply of environmental health officers. 
§ Ms Beverley Hughes
The Government give general grant funding to local authorities to enable them to meet their responsibilities, including environmental health. In the current Spending Review period from 2001–02 to 2003–04, standard spending assessments and Government grant to councils will increase in real terms by an average of over 3 per cent. a year. The Environment Protective and Cultural Services block settlement, which covers councils' responsibilities in this area, is the best for many years, with 1.8 per cent. real terms increases each year and 2.7 per cent. more in 2001–02 than previously planned.
At a local level, the extent of the funding for environmental health officers is, however, a matter for individual councils bearing in mind their statutory responsibilities, their priorities and the wishes of their electorate.