David Finch, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:
‘Reductions to the public health grant announced today will heap more pressure on local authorities that are already struggling following significant budget cuts carried out over a decade of austerity. Not only will this further constrain local authorities’ ability to deliver vital public health programmes such as obesity, drug and alcohol, sexual health and children's services, but further reductions risk undermining the role directors of public health play in influencing wider services that affect people’s health - including housing and transport.
‘The settlement announced today by the Department for Health and Social Care confirms a real term cut of £240m in just one year.
‘The Health Foundation’s analysis shows there has been a £900m real terms reduction in funding between 2014/15 and 2019/20. The core public health grant has fallen by a quarter (25%) per person since 2014/15. Worryingly, these funding cuts come at a time when life expectancy improvements are stalling and inequalities are widening, and they have so far failed to protect the areas in greatest need.
‘Increasing spending for the NHS while cutting funding for services that impact health is a false economy. If the government is serious about delivering on its prevention vision, this will have to be matched with adequate funding for the things that maintain and improve people’s health – not just the health care services that treat people when they become unwell.
‘Rather than implementing further cuts, we calculate an additional £3bn a year is required to reverse the impact of government cuts to the public health grant and ensure that it is re-allocated according to need.’
Susannah McIntyre, External Affairs Manager