Sunday 26 September 2010

The New Politics: A Slightly Different Way Of Not Listening

I suppose it should be expected by now, but it still raises an eyebrow, when browsing parliamentary cockwaffle, to come across a Minister who claims to be unaware of something that has been placed right under their nose.

Mike Weatherley (Hove, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) if he will estimate the level of revenue losses for local authorities arising from the closure of retail outlets as a result of a tobacco display ban;

Anne Milton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health), Health; Guildford, Conservative)

We are not aware of any evidence that removing tobacco displays will affect the number of retail outlets. However, we will continue to consider any evidence that emerges about the effects of the legislation in other countries.
So, Anne, are you saying that you didn't see the report published by the Institute of Economic Affairs - helpfully entitled "Canada's ruinous tobacco display ban" - which highlighted the loss of 2,300 corner shops in Canada, around 15% of their total stock? I'm sure they would have sent you a copy.

Perhaps there was a communication problem. They are based a full 5 minutes walk from your office, after all ... it's like the other side of the world in 2010, isn't it?

But then, they were only reiterating their presentation of the paper in the House of Commons on June 15th**. You have researchers, do you not? Didn't you send one along?

You aren't aware of any of that?

Maybe I'm being harsh and it's not your fault for being so woefully ill-informed on such matters. Because it would seem that it's a lottery who will answer questions to the Secretary of State for Health. The other respondent being the sole Lib Dem MP who is stubbornly standing in the way of this nonsense being canned.

Meanwhile, the catalogue of quite astounding mendacity which led to the passing of such a ridiculous act still remains unchallenged by our new 'freedom-loving' coalition.

The 18,000 members of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, and the 25,000 members of the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, whose views were deleted from the Government's consultation remember, were no doubt ecstatic on hearing that - yet again - they are being shafted.

Good old 'new politics', eh?

** Hosted by our esteemed blog mascot


Anonymous said...

Anti Smoking cost to UK since
JAN 2005
£ Billion 9-10.5

Any more bids.

Gate keeper

Simon said...

This is quite ridiculous. I worked on the NFRN campaign a couple of years ago and BERR was furious that the DoH had hijacked this.

BERR was/is fully aware of the cost to shops and the continued damage to communities as this will drive them to the supermarkets rather than the local shop.

Wrote about it last year!