"Public health services are vital to tackling the health inequalities which have been exacerbated by the pandemic and are preventing us from levelling up the country."
Responding to the Health Foundation’s new analysis, which says an additional investment of £1.4 billion a year by 2024/25 is now needed to restore the real terms cut to the public health grant and keep pace with rising demand and costs, Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Public health services are vital to tackling the health inequalities which have been exacerbated by the pandemic and are preventing us from levelling up the country.
“As this report highlights, the public health grant for councils has been significantly reduced in real terms by nearly a quarter over the last five years, which could impact on their ability to meet demand and respond to unforeseen outbreaks.
“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.”