Action needed alongside warm and welcome words on levelling up health Health Foundation response to Health Secretary's speech on the hidden costs of the pandemic and his vision for levelling up

16 September 2021

Responding to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s speech on the hidden costs of the pandemic and his vision for levelling up, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, said:

‘The Health Secretary has today delivered an optimistic vision of a healthier and fairer society. His acknowledgement that levelling up health is fundamental to levelling up the economy is welcome. He also recognised that the conditions in which people live are fundamental to their health and wellbeing. As the Health Secretary has identified, government action on the wider factors that impact health – including education, housing and welfare – will be essential to this mission.

‘We now need action to follow these warm and welcome words. The reality is that public health funding has been cut by over £1bn in the last 10 years and further cuts have been made to services that are fundamental to people’s health, like education and housing. The level of basic income also impacts health and the end to the Universal Credit uplift of £20 per week on 6 October will impact the poorest and sickest in England. Government investment is needed now to reverse the trends. 

‘The key test for the Health Secretary’s vision will be whether he can develop a coherent cross-government strategy to boost the population’s health and reduce avoidable inequalities. As a first step, health should be a common thread throughout the forthcoming white paper on levelling up and in the Spending Review. Without health there can be no prosperity.’

Media contact

Simon Perry
020 7257 2093

Further reading


The government’s levelling up agenda

July 2021

What does ‘levelling up’ mean, and why should health be centre stage in plans to do so?


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