Jo Bibby, Director of Health at the Health Foundation, commented:

'We welcome the government’s prevention vision released today, which recognises the urgent need for joined-up action to address the social determinants that influence people’s health - including the neighbourhoods they live in, their access to good quality work, and support for children’s development.

'When life expectancy improvements are stalling for the first time in over 100 years and health inequalities are widening, now is the time to act. Clear goals must be adopted in the forthcoming Green Paper on prevention to address the social and economic conditions that impact on people’s ability to lead healthy lives. If health is to be treated as one of our nation’s most important assets and prevention prioritised, we need a fully-funded cross-government approach.

'This vision rightly identifies local authorities as playing a vital role in leading local health improvement. Their ability to deliver on this role, however, has been jeopardised by substantial cuts to local services and investments over the past decade of austerity. Recent Health Foundation analysis has shown there has been £700m of real terms cuts to the public health grant since 2014/15, and wider local authority budgets fell by over a third between 2011/12 and 2016/17. Last week’s Budget will also mean that wider health spending outside the NHS England budget could see a £1bn reduction next year. Clearly, if this ambitious prevention vision is to become a reality then it will need to be matched with long-term investment.

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