Ann McGauran 05 October 2021

Public health grant cuts run counter to levelling up, say experts

Public health grant cuts run counter to levelling up, say experts image

Real terms cuts to local public health work against levelling up and the Government must boost funding after years of underinvestment, say two leading health organisations.

The Health Foundation and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) made the joint call today after new analysis by the Health Foundation showed the public health grant has fallen by almost a quarter in six years.

It reveals that the public health grant has been cut by 24% in real terms per capita since 2015/16  - equivalent to a reduction of £1bn.The Health Foundation has calculated that additional investment of £1.4bn a year by 2024-25 is now needed to restore the cut to the grant and keep pace with rising demand and costs.

The ADPH has also published an open letter backed by over 50 charities and representative bodies which cites the analysis and calls for urgent action on public health funding.

Director of health at the Health Foundation Jo Bibby said that even before the pandemic, a girl born in one of the poorest areas could expect to live nearly 20 fewer years in good health than a girl born in the one of the wealthiest - ‘and COVID-19 is likely to have only further widened this gulf’.

She added: ‘The health and social care secretary has promised to finally address this injustice and has rightly acknowledged that levelling up health is fundamental to levelling up economically - a healthy and productive population will be essential to the country’s future prosperity.’ 

Ms Bibby said the Spending Review ‘presents an opportunity for the Government to finally put an end to the short-sightedness of underinvesting in services which keep people healthy and prevent them from becoming ill in the first place’.

Jim McManus, Interim President, Association of Directors of Public Health said: ‘Over recent years the public health grant has been cut, cut and cut again, undermining the leadership and services that are essential to improving health and reducing inequalities. Investing in local public health is critical to levelling up, preparing for the future threats and building a more prevention-focussed health and care system. The costs of not doing so are clear - health and wellbeing will worsen further, health inequalities will grow and too much potential in our society and economy will remain untapped.’ 

Cllr David Fothergill, chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: ‘If we are to truly level up, we must focus on reducing poor health outcomes as well as economic imbalances between regions, supported by the right resources. Investment now will reap benefits for everyone longer-term, including for the NHS, criminal justice and other public services.

‘Councils are doing all they can to help keep people healthy throughout their lives and reduce pressure on the NHS and social care.

‘The upcoming Spending Review is an opportunity to realise this shared ambition with government, to level up the future health chances of our communities and build back better from the pandemic.’

Overcoming the barriers to Commercial Card use image

Overcoming the barriers to Commercial Card use

Want to reap the benefits of Commercial Cards but coming up against some challenges? James Sykes, Head of Commercial Cards, Lloyds Bank and David Legg, Head of Corporate Card Products, Lloyds Bank, discuss how the payments industry is helping organisations unlock their true value.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Independent non-executive members of proposed NHS Integrated Care Boards

Do you have the vision to shape the future of health and care for people in your area? Nationwide
Recuriter: NHS

Lead Community Protection Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£37722 - £40869 per annum + value award of £2,472 per annum
2 x Lead Community Protection OfficersCommunity Protection Team(PO3 plus an incremental value award of £2,472 per annum) Permanent Our Community Prote England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

School Organisation Project Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£41,952- £48,663
We’re giving a platform to people inside and outside our community. Because, we’re not just home to the UK’s fast-growing economy. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Service Manager (Referral and Assessment)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£60,426 to £74,202 per annum
Can you inspire, encourage, and develop excellent social work practice to make a real difference in the lives of children and young people? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Asset Management Team Administrator

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618 per annum
The role is what you make it, and the more you put in, the bigger the difference you can make to... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue