The following is the response of the Labour Party Public Health spokesperson, Luciana Berger, to our questions on the party’s infant and young child feeding policies. For the full list of responses and our letter see: http://www.babymilkaction.org/election-uk-2015
Labour Party policy on infant and young child feeding
(Received from Luciana Berger, Labour Public Health Spokesperson)
Thank you for writing to me, on behalf of the Baby Feeding Law Group, about the Labour Party’s policy on infant and young child feeding.
The Labour Party has been a strong supporter of breastfeeding as it ensures a healthy start for infants, and promotes women’s health. The previous Labour Government launched the Infant Feeding Initiative in 1999, as part of the government’s commitment to improving health inequalities and between 1999 and 2002 nearly £3m was spent on funding 79 different projects. The focus of all these projects was the development of innovative practices that aimed to increase the incidence and duration of breastfeeding, especially amongst those groups who were least likely to breastfeed.
Increasing breastfeeding rates by two percentage points per year with a focus on mothers from disadvantaged groups was a specific target in the Department of Health’s Priorities and Planning Framework for England 2003-2006.
The previous Labour government supported the adoption of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding in the UK. Unfortunately the progress we have seen in implementation under this Government has been disappointing. It is very concerning that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded the UK’s implementation of the strategy is inadequate. This is an issue that a Labour Government would seek to address, if elected on Thursday.
I also share your concerns about the cancellation of the National Infant Feeding Survey, especially because of the inadequacy of other data that is gathered in relation to infant feeding interventions, as you highlight in your letter. In government we will explore options for carrying out a National Infant Feeding Survey in consultation with key stakeholders and the devolved administrations.
I hope you have found this response helpful.
Parliamentary Candidate for Liverpool Wavertree