Thursday 20 December 2018 / 3:23 PM Health / Jonathan Ashworth

Labour reveals devastating public health cuts

Labour is today revealing that public health budgets will fall by £85 million next year. The new analysis, verified by the House of Commons Library, reveals that per head public health grants will drop by nearly £2 in just one year – a 3.3% fall.

These cuts affect crucial community and prevention services including stop smoking services, sexual health advice services and drug & alcohol misuse services for children and young people.

The cuts announced by the Government today come on the same day as the ONS revealed an estimated 597 homeless people died in 2017 – a 24% increase over the last five years. Men made up 84% of the deaths and over half were due to drug poisoning, liver disease or suicide. Drug poisoning alone made up 32% of the total.

NHS England has today announced it is rolling out ‘drunk tanks’, demonstrating a joint strategy is lacking.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said:

“It’s outrageous the Government have tried to sneak out further devastating cuts to local specialist public health services without debate on the day Parliament rises for the Christmas break.

“Only a few weeks ago the Secretary of State told us prevention was his priority and yet today he is cutting specialist public health services by a further £85 million.

“It’s the clearest evidence yet that ministerial promises on the NHS are entirely hollow.

“These swingeing cuts will fall on a number of vital community based health services such as those that support for mothers and babies, tackle obesity, help people stop smoking, sexual health services and specialist drug and alcohol treatments. Cutting them is short sighted and means more people becoming seriously ill who should have been supported placing wider significant pressures on the NHS.

“On the day the NHS is announcing its rolling out ‘drunk tanks’, ministers are pushing ahead with deep cuts to public health budgets including alcohol treatment services. This isn’t a joined up strategy to support those with drinks problems. And to do so after we have learnt that over half of all deaths of homeless people last year were due to substance misuse issues is especially shameful.

“At some point the Government will publish the NHS Plan. A clear test of that plan is whether it reverses these cuts and fully funds community public health services as Labour has promised.”