"Cutting the public health budget is incredibly short-sighted and will undermine our ability to improve the public’s health and to keep the pressure off the NHS and social care."
Responding to today’s written ministerial statement confirming a cut to councils’ public health grants, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, said:
“Today’s announcement confirms that councils’ public health budgets will continue to face significant spending reductions.
“The Government has announced an extra £20 billion for the NHS, but is now taking vital money away from the services which can be used to prevent illness and the need for treatment later down the line.
“Cutting the public health budget is incredibly short-sighted and will undermine our ability to improve the public’s health and to keep the pressure off the NHS and social care.
“Further reductions to the public health budget reinforces the view that central government sees prevention services as nice-to-do but ultimately non-essential. Interventions to tackle teenage pregnancy, air quality, child obesity, sexually transmitted infections and substance misuse cannot be seen as an added extra for health budgets.
“Local authorities were eager to pick up the mantle of public health in 2013 but many will now feel that they have been handed all of the responsibility but without the appropriate resources to do so.
“Many councils will be forced to take tough decisions about which services have to be scaled back, or stopped altogether, to plug funding gaps. It is vital that the Government uses the 2019 Spending Review to deliver truly sustainable funding for public health in local government.”
Notes to editors
Councils’ public health grant funding is being cut by £531 million between 2015/16 and 2019/2020.