William Eichler 16 September 2019

Cuts force councils to slash public health funding by £72m

Local authorities plan to cut public health spending by £72m this year in response to reductions in Whitehall funding, the Labour Party says.

An analysis by the main opposition party has shown that 82% of English councils plan to slash spending on vital services in 2019/20.

Drug and alcohol treatment services have been hit the hardest with planned reductions across the board by £27.1m.

This includes £2m of cuts to specialist drug and alcohol misuse services for children and young people.

The figures, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, also show that planned council spend on sexual health services will be cut by £14.5m.

Spending on obesity services for adults and smoking cessation services will be cut by £1.4m and £4.9m respectively.

‘When drug deaths have hit a record high, and obesity and some STI rates increasing, it is unconscionable that vital public health services are still being cut to the bone,’ said Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health and social care secretary.

‘These swingeing cuts are completely short-sighted and are pushing us deeper into a public health crisis.’

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