Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:55 pm on 14th May 2019.

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Photo of Paul Williams Paul Williams Labour, Stockton South 5:55 pm, 14th May 2019

It is painful that that is happening in places such as Blaydon, where life expectancy is declining. Life expectancy in the north is declining, and there are huge life expectancy gaps between north and south. It is the very part of the country where we should be investing in public health, not making cuts. In Stockton-on-Tees, public health has been cut by £1 million in the past two years.

What do we want? It is 10 years since the Marmot review set out the evidence base for how to reduce health inequalities. We should be doubling down on investment in health inequalities. We should be investing in sexual health services. We should be investing in drug treatment services, which nationally have been cut by 16.5%. Instead, we see year-on-year funding reductions, public health is being cut to the bone, life expectancy is falling and health inequalities are rising. The Government need to show an absolute commitment not just to treatment services but to grassroots prevention services in communities up and down the country, and they must invest properly in public health services. Local authorities are the right place for them to be, but they have to be properly funded and supported.