Public Health Funding

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd October 2018.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North 12:00 am, 23rd October 2018

What recent representations he has received on the potential merits of increasing public health funding to local authorities.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

This Government have a strong track record on public health. Local authorities in England are supported by ring-fenced public health grants of more than £16 billion over the current spending review period. Decisions on future funding are, of course, for the next spending review.

Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

Substance misuse services are due to be slashed by £34 million owing to cuts imposed by central Government. In Hull, and I am sure in many other parts of the country, there is a growing blight on our streets caused by Spice and other substances. How is it in any way helpful to communities, frontline police or the NHS for the Government to cut services that help people deal with their addictions?

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

As I said, we are spending £16 billion of our constituents’ money during this spending review period on public health grants. Decisions about where we go in future are of course not a matter for me but for the Chancellor in the spending review. This House decided in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to make every upper tier local authority a public health authority. We believe that it is right for local authorities to make those decisions, with the funding that we give them.

Photo of Paul Williams Paul Williams Labour, Stockton South

How many health visitors have been lost since 2015? How will the Minister ensure that important investments are made at the start of life to reduce health inequalities?

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

As I suspect the hon. Gentleman knows, I do not have that figure at my fingertips, but I will provide it to him. Health visitors are a critical part of the puzzle, and local authorities are well aware of that, as are Ministers.