Public Health Grant allocations

Public Health

Today’s announcement that Councils will receive £77m less from Government for public health in 2016/17 and £84m less in 2017/18 is on top of a £200m in year cut in 2015/16. It reaffirms councils’ fears that public health budgets will continue to face significant spending reductions over the next two years.

The Government is finding billions of pounds for the NHS over the next four years and has even been forced to inject hundreds of millions of pounds extra into the health budget this year to help balance the books. To then take vital money away from the services which can be used to prevent illness and the need for treatment later down the line and ease the pressure on the NHS is extremely counterproductive.

Cutting the public health budget is a short term approach and we are concerned this decision could undermine the objectives we all share to improve the public’s health and to keep the pressure off the NHS and adult social care.

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, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, 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.