Congratulations Barrie Margetts on delivering a great platform address, at Labour Party Conference 2018, speaking passionately on the ‘tackling inequalities debate’.

Posted by Joe Dukes on Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Professor Barrie Margetts, Southampton Test CLP, making a great intervention during the Debate on  Tackling  Inequalities on Wednesday morning of the Labour Party Conference.


As I do regularly, I attended the Conservative and Labour Party conferences this year.

The Tory conference was in Birmingham and was dominated by Brexit talks.   I attended many side events including several with John Redwood and Jacob Rees-Mogg as speakers.

John Redwood was Secretary of State for Wales in 2005 when the earlier UK legislation was passed and he succeeded in weakening the advertising of infant formula section (article 17). So, in addition to Follow-on Formula advertising, the law allowed advertising of infant formula in baby care publications distributed through the health care system.

He has also, in the past, been an advocate of a ‘regulatory budget’ – if you bring a new law in you must get rid of an old one. During one of the side meetings I asked why those favouring a hard Brexit never talked about the need for stronger regulations to protect human health – marketing and food safety controls for example.   John Redwood cleverly twisted my question round (18.21) by saying: “When the UK leaves the EU we will inherit all the laws and we will  then  ‘at our leisure’ be asked to decide what to do with them … Marketing controls, are a very good example of the domestic controls we could have. Because you and others who feel as you do can say to the British Parliament, we want these standards, we don’t think the EU ones are good enough.”

At another side event, (recording 87) John Redwood and others  gave examples of how governments interfere and get in the way of business progress and privatisation.  I asked why they presented government always as a negative force. Surely its essential that the state does step in – after all it has a responsibility/obligation/ duty to protect human rights and ensure that business don’t harm health. It seems to me that we are being encouraged to become a nation of manic shoppers.


Wednesday 26th September, 2018

Professor Barrie Margetts, Southampton Test CLP, made a great intervention during the Debate on  Tackling  Inequalities on Wednesday morning.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health  Secretary had stressed the  risks of privatisation and the need to fully fund public services. He said “Our ambition is the healthiest children in the world so we’ll start tackling childhood obesity through ending junk food advertising on family TV and introducing universal free school meals.To support parents and babies we’ll recruit more Health Visitors and invest properly in perinatal mental health services too.”

Barrie welcomed the call for a fully funded Public Health Services and went further, calling for future Public Health Policy to have a clear plan for dealing with Conflicts of Interest and protecting policy setting from Private Sector influence. Far too much in the past the  Private Sector has been allowed to influence policy not for the Public Good but for private profit.  Barrie also highlighted that breastfeeding is one of the most effective interventions to reduce inequalities and we need to support it and stop the unethical practices the bottle feeding companies pursue.  He ended by calling for  food systems that provide affordable healthy food for everybody in a way that is produced ethically in a way that does not affect the environment.






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