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« A toast to Brian and Jackie | Main | Smokers may be refused operations »
Sunday
Dec192010

Perfect couple: public health minister attends ASH AGM

Above: public health minister Anne Milton MP and Deborah Arnott, director of ASH, at the latter's annual general meeting, December 15, 2010.

H/T Brian Bond via Dave Atherton

Brian points out that Anne Milton is married to the director of public health for the East Surrey PCT while her Wiki profile reveals that:

"In February 2006, Milton was among a minority of Conservative MPs to oppose exceptions for private clubs from the proposed Smoking ban in England. Milton had previously announced her opposition to a partial ban, stating it was "the worst possible solution. In summer 2007 David Cameron appointed her Shadow Minister for Health".

Funnily enough I wrote recently to Milton querying her statement, reported by the Morning Advertiser last month, that "there is little, if any, evidence that would link the closure of pubs and clubs to the introduction of [the smoking bans]”.

I pointed out that:

Over the period 1990-2010 the total number of pubs has indeed shown a long-term decline from around 63,500 to 52,000.

However, a little analysis demonstrates the considerable acceleration of the trend from the end of 2006 – the last data point before the bans in England, Wales and N Ireland.

The period from 2006-10 showed an average closure rate of 2.7% a year - over four times as fast as the long-term trend of 0.6%. In other words, on average more than a thousand more pubs closed each year after the bans than before.

Given the frequent references to the impact of the smoking ban by licensed trade associations and companies this is likely to be much more than just a coincidence.

Please find attached a research paper that examines the pub closure data in more detail. This shows an almost exact correlation between the rates of decline in pub numbers in Scotland, England, Wales and even the Republic of Ireland, when viewed in comparison to the varying dates of their bans.

All of these data are publicly available. Given the commitment of the Government to a private sector-led recovery, the closure of more than a thousand businesses a year in a key part of the economy surely requires a more thorough investigation and review.

I look forward to your response and hope that the Government will review its decision not to review the smoking ban in accordance with a commitment given by the previous government.

Needless to say, I'm not holding my breath.

Reader Comments (15)

I think the Health Authorities should put THAT photograph on cigarette packets - before the 'Sun' gets hold of it (to boost circulation) - with an aprropraite caption, say:

"Annie and Debs - working for YOU !"

December 19, 2010 at 10:47 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Another brilliant success for ASH. Given time they may yet eradicate all employment from the UK. Defund ASH.

December 19, 2010 at 11:11 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Brian Oblivion

Another Horrible Thought:

You're on a lifeboat in the middle of the North Sea. Apart from yourself, there are three other items on board: the two ladies above, and a large crate of Lucky Strikes (which, coincidentally, weigh exactly the same as said ladies). The water's getting rough, and something has to be thrown overboard if you're to remain afloat. You have a revolver - with only two bullets in the chamber. What do you do ?

(From the 'SBS Survival Handbook')

December 19, 2010 at 11:17 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Light up a cigarette, they'll jump overboard to avoid SHS and save your bullets for more important things.

December 19, 2010 at 11:42 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Dumb and Dumber.
Or is it Ugly and Uglier.
Or Nasty and Nastier.
No ,Liar Liar,yep, that's it !

December 19, 2010 at 12:06 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I, first, thought it was an advert for a Hammer film! What is it about these Puritans that makes them so unattractive? Frustration, maybe?

Have our MP's lost their basic human sense? That anything said by people looking like that is to be instantly dismissed as the product of a bitter mind? Dear me.

December 19, 2010 at 12:13 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

@Anon lol

Not forgetting that ASH run the All Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.

"PURPOSE To monitor and discuss the health and social effects of smoking; to review potential changes in existing legislation to reduce levels of smoking; to assess the latest medical techniques to assist in smoking cessation; and to act as a resource for the group’s members on all issues relating to smoking and public health.

"BENEFITS RECEIVED BY GROUP FROM SOURCES OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT
Action on Smoking and Health provides administrative support to the group, including sharing of information with members of the group, the occasional provision of briefing material at meetings, and occasional funding of receptions.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/register.pdf

December 19, 2010 at 12:13 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Anon -

That is the CORRECT answer ! Brilliant piece of Lateral Thinking on your part, I must say...................

December 19, 2010 at 12:47 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Well, as I said in a previous post, there would be no point the Tories doing any kind of review because it would be prejudicial.

I can see the Tories' minds are made up about which side they are on otherwise they would not have this horrendous woman in govt or Lansley - a rabid anti-smoker - as health secretary.

Expect lots more of the same kind oppression we had under NuLabour unless some of those backbench MPs who do believe in impartiality and fairness will speak up for us and halt more persecutionm.

I wonder how much Milton gets in cash from ASH - remeber how Pat Hewitt was a "taxi for hire" when she made the smoking ban possible?

I think we should know how much Milton's being paid to be on side.

December 19, 2010 at 13:35 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Milton's 'Paradise Postponed', perhaps ?

December 19, 2010 at 13:57 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Their pictures should be put on cigarette packets with the warning 'Quit smoking and you too can look like this'.

December 19, 2010 at 18:51 | Unregistered Commenterchas

When I first saw that picture it reminded me of something vaguely familiar....

Was this picture taken at a previous ASH meeting? I think we should be told!

(Although at least Yvonne De Carlo looks like a real woman!)

December 19, 2010 at 21:45 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Bond

You wrote to Anne Milton? Good luck. I wrote two years ago and am still waiting for a reply.

December 19, 2010 at 23:33 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

Now there's an image, that would put me off cigarettes.

December 20, 2010 at 1:33 | Unregistered CommenterTim

OH MY God, they are twins.

Shock, Horror, There are two of them.

How very depressing.

December 23, 2010 at 19:43 | Unregistered CommenterMary Smoker

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