Andrew Lansley has revealed plans to inject up to £1m into an investigation to prove the effectiveness of his controversial public health Responsibility Deal.
The health secretary told the House of Commons earlier this week the money would go towards an independent evaluation, first promised by the government last year but widely criticised by food industry leaders for having failed to get off the ground.
Lansley also made a defence of the deal in the face of attacks by health and consumer groups.
“One year into the Responsibility Deal, we are already seeing successes, including the elimination of artificial trans-fats, further reductions in salt in manufactured foods and over 8,000 high street outlets showing calorie information,” he told Parliament.
“Transparent monitoring and evaluation of the deal are vital, and both the department and our partners are committed to this. We will make up to £1 million available to fund an independent evaluation.”
The Grocer revealed earlier this month that industry leaders were calling for a 12-month pause to Responsibility Deal pledges, to allow time to provide evidence of their effectiveness.
“This is a complex evaluation and we need to be sure we are spending public funds wisely by attempting to answer the most pertinent questions. The first stage of this process is to scope what is feasible to achieve in terms of an effective research strategy that provides good value for money,” a DH spokesperson said.