Ruth Cadbury MP has condemned government spending cuts to public health services such as stop-smoking, sexual health and addiction support, after new research showed that Hounslow Council has lost £3.19m in funding for local public health services over the last five years.
These cuts mean that public health teams in have had to make difficult about their existing services while also working to control the spread of Covid-19.
Local public health teams support people in Hounslow to stay well and helps prevent health problems through services that includes smoking cessation, sexual health, obesity, public mental health, drug and alcohol services, and healthy eating.
The £3.19m real terms cut to the team’s funding fails to prioritise this vital work, despite public health staff having spent almost two years working flat out to tackle the worst public health crisis in living memory.
In last month’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review, the Government announced no real terms change to the total public health grant, which means no more funding for local public health teams in 2022/23.
Speaking out against the cuts, Ruth Cadbury MP said:
“I know the public health team in Hounslow have worked so hard to keep us all safe during the pandemic and everyone locally is so grateful for all the work they’ve done, including during the delta Covid outbreak earlier this year.
It is infuriating that despite their hard work the Government have refused to give them the support they need and cut them out of key decisions last year when a local lockdown was imposed.
On top of that we’ve seen the Prime Minister waste money on crony contracts for PPE that didn’t work and a track and trace program that collapsed last summer.
A decade of funding cuts by this Government has had a huge impact on councils such as Hounslow. It’s pointless for this Government to talk about levelling up if they’re slashing vital public health services.
Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:
"Our NHS is in crisis and patients are waiting longer for treatment thanks to years of cuts and a failure to recruit the doctors and nurses needed.
In communities across the country the Government have cut the vital public health services that prevent people becoming seriously ill, ultimately putting more pressure on local hospitals.
To save lives we need to keep people well, but instead public health services are set to be stretched again thanks to this government."