Responding to the publication of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity's Levelling Up Health report, Jo Bibby, Director of Health at the Health Foundation, said:
'Today’s report provides welcome recognition that a healthy population is one of our nation’s most important assets. Good health is key to economic growth and should indeed be at the heart of the government’s ‘build back better’ agenda.
'As the report shows, building a healthy nation requires effort from all sectors of society. From education, to housing, to good quality work and a decent safety net – all need to be addressed if we are to tackle the stark inequalities in health that currently exist. However, it's unlikely that this will be achieved without effective leadership from the government and coordinated action across its departments.
'We welcome the report’s recommendation to establish a Health Improvement Fund, but we are yet to see evidence that the government has grasped the scale of the resources needed. There is no indication that historic cuts to local budgets will be restored. Nor did the recent budget make a long-term commitment to public health funding despite this year’s public health grant allocations representing a 24% cut in real terms per capita – equivalent to £1bn – compared to 2015/16.
'The APPG’s report rightly recognises that, as the country emerges from the pandemic, there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put health at the heart of the recovery and create the conditions that enable everyone to thrive regardless of who they are and where they live.'
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