Scottish Conservatives draw attention to Scotland’s superior environmental health inspection regime

August 2016: CFI leads first ever delegation of Scottish Conservatives to  Israel | CFI
Wells, centre, on a ‘fact-finding mission’ on behalf of Glasgow folk, in Israel

Last Thursday, Annie Wells (Glasgow) (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party) asked the Scottish Government, further to the First Minister’s commitment to “providing resources for additional environmental health officers” in her statement on 22 September 2020 (Official Report, c.16), how many officers it considers require to be recruited; by what date additional officers should be recruited, and how much funding it will provide to enable this.

The Health Secretary replied:

A total of £2.9 million is being provided over two years, to enable the recruitment of up to 64 Compliance Officers in total across the 32 Local Authorities. The recruitment process will be a matter for each individual local authority, but it is anticipated that the new officers will be in post around the end of 2020.

Click to access WA20201015.pdf

The Health Secretary did not feel the need to inform Ms Wells of the comparative situation in England & Wales, now facing a ‘tsunami’ of coronavirus outbreaks in food plants due to inadequate levels of inspection but the Tusker does:

According to the Food Standards Agency for England:

Food Standards Scotland appears to be monitoring no outbreak other than the one in Coupar Angus.

Might this situation be the result of a higher frequency of environmental health inspections in Scotland?

From Environmental Health News on 20th September 2017:

‘English local authorities are seriously falling behind their devolved neighbours when it comes to resourcing food inspections. The latest LAEMS figures published this week reveals that each Environmental Health professional inspecting food establishments in England is responsible for 345 premises annually while in Wales the figure is nearly half that at 175. In Northern Ireland, the figure is 238 premises per EHP while in Scotland it is 204.’

At the same time, the Local Authority Enforcement Monitoring System is reporting complaints about food safety standards increasing dramatically with England seeing a 24% increase in complaints dealt with last year up from 58,717 to 72,847 and the numbers of food establishments operating in the UK increasing from 627,425 in 2015/15 to 634,584 in 2016/17.

The Head of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health said:

‘In the devolved nations, they have the opportunity to resource food safety the way they think appropriate the difference is significant and that does concern us particularly on rising number of food premises to be covered and rising numbers of premises not being inspected.’

Footnote: ‘tsunami’ is now the most popular collective term for any increase, even moderate, in something bad.

In August 2020, Tusker reader sam usefully added:

From 2005

“Chancellor Gordon Brown has promised to bring in new laws to cut the burden of red tape on business.

Writing in the Financial Times, he has committed the government to a new bill which will replace unnecessary rules with a “risk-based” approach.

Mr Brown said business leaders would be consulted on which regulations should be stripped out or simplified.

Plans for a reform bill to cut the number of official regulators were set out in last week’s Queen’s Speech.

Mr Brown said inspectors would in future target “bad traders”, rather than continuing a system where “everyone was inspected continuously”.”

10 thoughts on “Scottish Conservatives draw attention to Scotland’s superior environmental health inspection regime”

  1. Phew looks like Scotland did the right thing in voting out England HQ’d Labour in Scotland.
    As for Tory Wells, well, again her England HQ’d party in Scotland, another waste of public money. Pals of Trump, the Tories in Scotland should be answering the questions not asking them.


  2. We don’t really get the full picture of what happens in the UK. This article from The Conversation in 2014 helps to explain why. Here’s a bit of it.

    “Let us be clear about what is happening here. We have a press release that contains the headline figure of 133 deaths. Then, it is possible to find a further 264 fatal injuries recorded by HSE but which do not make it into its own press release.

    As the HSE acknowledges, there are significant categories of deaths – at sea, or associated with the airline industry, for example – which are occupational but recorded by other agencies. But by far the biggest omission are the deaths of those who die while driving as a normal part of their work: another 800 to 1,000 deaths a year. This includes those who deliver “meals on wheels”, district nurses, postal workers and lorry drivers, but because such deaths are recorded as “road traffic” rather than occupational fatalities, they don’t make the figure recorded in the annual statistics.”

    The most recent statistics I can find are here.

    “Key figures for Great Britain (2018/19)
    1.4 million working people suffering from a work-related illness
    2,446 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2018)
    111 workers killed at work (2019/20)
    581,000 working people sustaining an injury at work according to the Labour Force Survey
    69,208 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR
    28.2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
    £15 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2017/18)”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Vince Cable is unhappy. He sees businesses quaking at the prospect of a big-stick wielding, enterprise killing safety inspector dropping in uninvited. On 10 September 2012 the Secretary of State for Business announced exactly what he intended to do about it. Shops, offices, pubs and clubs, he said, will no longer face “burdensome” health and safety inspections, and over 3,000 regulations will be scrapped or overhauled.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Working class killer

    Overall, the Office for National Statistics figures released on 11 May, the day after the government urged all construction workers to return to work, reported ‘low-skilled workers in construction’ had a Covid-19 death rate of 25.9 per 100,000 males, five times the rate for male ‘professionals’.

    The ONS figure also revealed workers in ‘low skilled elementary occupations’ (21.4 deaths per 100,000) were almost four times as likely to die from the virus as ‘professionals’ (5.6 per 100,000).

    It was a picture that would only get worse, as lockdown guidance was relaxed. For all the talk of ‘essential’ workers, it turned out as the crisis progressed they were disposable.

    Updated ONS figures published on 26 June 2020, analysing deaths in England and Wales by occupation up to 25 May 2020, revealed that in males 17 occupations had significantly increased death rates due to Covid-1,9 including taxi drivers and chauffeurs (135 deaths), security guards (107 deaths), and bus and coach drivers (54 deaths).

    According to ONS, “two major groups of occupations were found to have similarly high rates of death involving Covid-19. The first was elementary workers with 39.7 deaths per 100,000 men (421 deaths). The occupations in this group include those performing mostly routine tasks, such as construction workers and cleaners.

    The second was caring, leisure and other service occupations (39.6 deaths per 100,000 men, or 160 deaths), which include occupations such as nursing assistants, care workers and ambulance drivers.

    These deaths were not inevitable – worker deaths here were outstripping those in other nations. An Amnesty International report published on 14 July 2020 confirmed England and Wales has one of the worst coronavirus death tolls among health and care workers – with at least 540 recorded fatalities, compared to a worldwide total of 3,000 deaths in these jobs.”

    These weren’t the sick, old, vulnerable people we’d been told would die. They were working age and fit enough to hold down a job.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lets see. Annie Wells visits a country whose government thinks it is entitled to annex the land, property and assets of a separate population whom they now control by force of arms, after a series of aggressive wars.
    Indeed to keep that population subjugated, Stateless, unfranchised and powerless within the “borders” they wish to establish as “their” own.

    Is there something familiar in this sorry tale?
    A lesson to learn?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This question is not actually about this post but about a claim by a friend that The Herald stated Glasgow and Clyde Health Board used a paediatric algorithm for Care Homes. Do you have any information on this? I googled it but unable to find a source.
    I’ll understand if you don’t have time to do this.


    1. Isobel,
      I think you may be referring to the flu vaccination programme in GGHB. They used a programme that is used to send out letters to children and young people to call them in for a flu jab. They used the same programme for adults not realising that the programme would prioritise the younger ,’oldies’ – 65 or a bit younger rather than start with the oldest who are in the higher risk group.


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