To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic, published by the All-party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health on 10 September 2020, whether he has plans in place to maintain the level of funding for contraceptive outreach services for marginalised and under-served communities.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the reduction in public health grant on access to contraception for (a) women living with an abusive partner, (b) BAME women, (c) women in lower socio-economic groups, (d) women under 18 and (e) other marginalised groups.
The Government has mandated local authorities in England to commission comprehensive open access sexual health services, including the provision of free contraception. Contraception is also widely available free of charge through general practice. The Government provides funding to local authorities for their public health responsibilities, including sexual health services, through the public health grant. It is for individual local authorities to decide their spending priorities based on an assessment of local need, including the need for sexual health services taking account of their statutory duties.
The Department secured a Spending Round settlement in 2019 for local government, with the public health grant receiving a welcome increase in real terms in 2020/21. Decisions on future funding will be a matter for the Spending Review.
No specific assessment has been made of the impact of the public health grant on access to contraception.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health’s report, ‘Women's Lives, Women's Rights: Strengthening Access to Contraception Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic’, has raised a number of important issues. The recommendations in the report will be considered as part of our upcoming work to develop the sexual and reproductive health strategy.