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March 12, 2020
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ADPH responds to Budget 2020

Responding to the budget announcement on 11th March 2020, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, President, Association of Directors of Public Health, said:

“Given the scale of the challenge in relation to coronavirus, we welcome the Government’s announcement of a significant funding package to support public services, businesses and individuals. Every part of our public services called on to respond to this emergency requires additional funding, including local council public health with its statutory responsibility for local health protection. 

“Improving the health and wellbeing of our communities - and narrowing the health inequalities between them - needs investment in both the infrastructure of our places as well as services to support people to thrive in them. Extra investment in drug treatment for people experiencing rough sleeping, for example, is important but this must be seen in the context of £850m of cuts to the public health grant since 2015/16 which includes these services. The Budget offered mixed messages on public health. We are pleased to see the tax escalator on cigarettes will continue at 2% above inflation, although continuing to freeze both alcohol duty and fuel duty sends the wrong signal about the way the tax system can, and should, be used to promote the kind of behaviour change needed from businesses and individuals to create a healthier society. 

“Yesterday the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care promised a real-terms increase in public health budgets for every local authority which would be a positive step forward. With less than 3 weeks until the new financial year this announcement, with the full details, is beyond urgent. Ahead of the upcoming Spending Review, we are calling on the Government to move on from years of cuts and uncertainty with a long-term settlement for public health.”

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