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 Izzi Seccombe
“Today’s announcement confirms that councils’ public health budgets will continue to face significant spending reductions over the next two years.
“The Government announced an extra £2.8 billion for the NHS in the Autumn Budget. But to then take vital money away from the services which can be used to prevent illness and the need for treatment later down the line and ease the pressure on the NHS is extremely counterproductive.
“Cutting the public health budget is short sighted and will undermine the objectives we all share to improve the public’s health and to keep the pressure off the NHS and adult 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, child obesity, physical inactivity, 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.
“It is also crucial that councils are given a free hand in how best to find the savings in public health budgets and we seek the Government’s reassurance on this point. Anything less will make the task of finding the reductions more difficult. Councils are best placed to decide how reduced resources should be used to meet our public health ambitions locally.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Councils’ public health grant funding is being cut by £531 million between 2015/16 and 2019/2020.