On behalf of its members, the cross-party LGA regularly briefs parliamentarians of all political affiliations on issues of concern and relevance to local government ahead of debates in Parliament. The most recent of these can be found here, as can the LGA's written responses to parliamentary inquiries, such as those held by Select Committees.
Obesity is a complex problem with a large number of different but often interlinked causes. Councils take obesity seriously as evidenced by the fact they have spent over £15 billion on public health since 2013, with over £1 billion tackling child and adult obesity, and physical inactivity.
This briefing summarises the key messages in the Adult Social Care Winter Plan (published by DHSC on 18 September 2020) and sets out the key actions for local authorities in a format that allows colleagues to clearly identify gaps.
While these powers are a welcome addition to the tools that councils have to tackle local outbreaks, and some councils have issued directions, there are also some challenges in using the directions. The regulations include the threshold of a serious and imminent threat to public health before a direction can be issued, and there is a need to consult with both the local Director of Public Health and to inform the Secretary of State for Health. This threshold has had the effect of deterring councils in areas where there has not to date been a significant rise in infections from issuing directions, in the belief that they do not meet the test of a serious and imminent threat to public health.
The Health and Social Care Committee’s report correctly recognises the crucial role that local government has to play in ensuring children receive the support they need during the initial formative stage of life.
Councils support active travel. Getting people to use more active travel will improve congestion, air quality and obesity rates, which in turn have substantial benefits such as for local economies, education and taxpayers.