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As many will be aware, we are in a period of unprecedented uncertainty in UK politics. During this time, we’ve seen three Prime Ministers, two monarchs, a legal challenge for Scottish independence, the first Sinn Fein majority in the Northern Ireland power-sharing agreement since its inception and many more political changes.

With all things considered it’s easy to recognise how challenging these times have been for lobbyists. Recently we have heard news that the much-awaited health inequalities paper could be scrapped by the Department of Health and Social Care, focusing instead on the new ‘Plan for Patients’. There are also murmurs of the removal of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy or ‘Sugar Tax,’ which of course, as we know in the physical activity sectors, raises £300 million annually which is used to fund the Holiday, Activities and Food programme (HAF) and to promote physical activity in schools. Of course, we are yet to see how this could pan out under Rishi Sunak’s new Cabinet. In this article we consider some of the major updates from across sectors and look at what Intelligent Health is doing to champion health and physical activity across the UK.

Party conferences

What has been maybe more telling of the political agenda is the announcements made during party conference season. Last month we considered the key policy updates from the Labour Party Conference and Conservative Party Conference. These individual articles can be read in full at the links below:

Ministerial appointments

Under Rishi Sunak’s new Cabinet, we are dealing with new Ministerial team. With all Secretaries of State now announced we can confirm the following appointments across relevant UK government departments:

Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC)

  • Secretary of State: The Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)

  • Secretary of State: The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

  • Secretary of State: The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP

Department for Education (DfE)

  • Secretary of State: The Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP

Department for Transport (DfT)

  • Secretary of State: The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

  • Secretary of State: The Rt Hon Therese Coffey MP

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

  • Secretary of State: The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP

Government Equalities Office

  • Minister for Women and Equalities: The Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP

Intelligent Health will be writing to all relevant Ministers in this coming period, requesting meetings to discuss our ongoing policy priorities in more detail. We will endeavour to champion our cause and seek to ensure that connecting nature and physical activity to mental wellbeing and health remains on the political agenda. We are also currently awaiting the appointment of junior ministerial roles with portfolios, which we will provide an update on in the next Policy round-up.

Consultation responses

Earlier this year, in partnership with Sport in Mind we drafted a joint response to DHSC’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan call for evidence. We welcomed the opportunity to provide evidence surrounding the benefits of physical activity on wellbeing as well as mental and physical health. Before the next policy round-up, we will also be looking to respond to the following calls for evidence:

If you would like to input into any of the subject matter within these evidence submissions or collaborate on a joint response, please contact Emily Carter, Policy Lead.

We will continue to provide relevant political updates throughout the year, if you have not done so already, please sign up to our Partner Newsletter to receive quarterly policy round-ups directly to your inbox.