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LABOUR COUNCILLOR ISSUES WARNING OVER GOVERNMENT RAID ON PUBLIC HEALTH FUNDING

Louise JacksonCllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health at Bedford Borough Council has warned that Central Government’s proposed cuts to local authority Public Health budgets are storing up problems for the future and will have a direct impact on the public health support the Council is able to provide.

The Council has responded to a government consultation on the planned “in year cuts” and has highlighted the impact that the reduction of funding will have for services to local residents.

The cuts will impact on the Council’s work to improve the health of the poorest fastest, reducing health inequalities. They will limit our ability to deliver statutory services including sexual health clinics and NHS Health Checks. They will also lead to a reduction in early intervention and prevention work on key areas such as rising obesity and diabetes

The cuts will be taken from this year’s budget and the impact will be immediate. Bedford Borough Council has had to curtail existing plans for new public health services, and ongoing Central Government cuts will further increase the risks to these services.

 Cllr Louise Jackson said: “We’ve written to the government explaining our serious concerns over the impact these cuts will have. Since 2009, Bedford Borough Council has reduced its spending by over £80m to meet previous cuts in government funding. This latest proposal from Central Government will have a direct impact on our ability to protect and improve the health of our residents. With an ageing population and increased pressures on health services we need to be able to do more not less to tackle the likes of obesity and diabetes and prevent long term health issues.”

The cuts are part of a national £200million reduction in the public health grant provided to local authorities by the Department of Health.

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