Drug Treatment Services

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:16 pm on 16th July 2019.

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Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 5:16 pm, 16th July 2019

As I say, that is a matter for the Home Office. I sense the hon. Lady’s frustration, but I am not responsible for that area. I have already said twice that I am happy to take that point away. Tabling business in the Chamber really is not my responsibility. I sense and am cognisant of the frustration in the House.

Under the 2017 drug strategy, we are involved in delivering actions across four themes: reducing demand to prevent drug use and its escalation; restricting supply; building recovery; and a new strand focused on global action, which is important. We need a partnership-based approach alongside the treatment system; other partners, such as the mental health and criminal justice systems, have key roles to play in securing the drug strategy’s aims.

I attend a cross-ministerial drug strategy board with Ministers from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and representatives of Public Health England. Additionally, the Home Secretary has appointed Professor Dame Carol Black to lead a major review of drugs, looking at a range of issues, including the system of support and enforcement around drug misuse, to inform our thinking about tackling drug harms. Dame Carol will report later this summer.

I acknowledge the concerns about the funding of public health services, and that local authorities need to make difficult choices about how they spend their money to be able to continue providing effective drug treatment services. Local authorities will receive £3.1 billion in this financial year, ring-fenced exclusively for use on public health, including drug addiction. In addition, we are investing more than £16 billion for public health over the five years to the end of 2020. It is a condition of the public health grant that local authorities have regard to the need to improve the take-up and outcomes from drug and alcohol misuse treatment services. Public health funding is a matter for the next spending review, in which it will be looked at in the light of the best available evidence.