Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, responds to a joint report by the Health Foundation and The King’s Fund calling for public health funding cuts to be reversed.
“This analysis echoes our own calls for public health funding reductions to be reversed, in order to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives
“Councils are determined to maintain vital public health services, but the reality is that many local authorities are having to make difficult decisions on these key services.
“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 forthcoming Spending Review to deliver truly sustainable funding for public health in local government.”
Notes to editors
- Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign aims to influence the forthcoming Spending Review and highlight the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils.
#CouncilsCan: Spending Review 2019
With the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer. Securing the financial sustainability of local services must be the top priority for the Spending Review.
- Councils are calling for a reversal of public health grants, which have been reduced by £700 million in real terms from 2015/16 to 2019/20.