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August 21, 2019
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Government must end cuts and uncertainty

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee report on local government finance is welcomed by the Association of Directors of Public Health.

This timely report highlights the red flags that we, and indeed the whole of local government, have been waving about the consequences of cuts to the health and wellbeing of communities.

Directors of Public Health have been walking a tightrope, balancing the delivery of high-quality preventative services and innovative approaches with rising demand and a shrinking public health grant.

However, the reality is that Directors of Public Health are reaching the outer limits of what is possible to deliver on shoestring budgets.

Local government, and the Directors of Public Health within them, plays a key role in shaping healthier places in which we all can live, work and play. The lack of adequate, sustainable local government funding will see inequalities widening even more than they are now, and poorer health – the very opposite of prevention.

ADPH President Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, who gave evidence to the Committee on the impact of cuts on public health and prevention, said:

“Echoing the Chair of the Committee, Clive Betts MP – it is time for the Government to get real with local government funding.

We agree that local government needs a long-term, multi-billion pound funding settlement through a Comprehensive Spending Review; of that, at least an extra one billion a year is needed for public health to effectively protect and improve the health of communities and people.

Yet, as things stand, public health budgets will be cut by a further £50m next financial year. The Government must act in the Spending Round to stop these cuts and show that it really means it when it says prevention is better than cure.”

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