Birmingham’s health boss has warned Government cuts to public health funding will ‘hit the poorest hardest’ unless the city’s inequalities are taken into account.
The Department of Health has set out options to achieve the planned £200m in-year reduction to nationwide public health spending, with an across the board 6.2% cut for all authorities emerging as its preferred proposal.
That would mean a shortfall of almost £6 million in Birmingham, affecting projects and preventative services that support some of our most vulnerable citizens in the City.
Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Paulette Hamilton, warned: “The Government is determined to pursue these damaging cuts, but the least they can do is reflect that not all local authorities face the same challenges.
“In Birmingham we face major health inequalities and have many more challenges than other areas, especially the more affluent parts of the country. Take life expectancy for example – it’s shocking that someone born in inner-city Birmingham can expect to live on average eight years less than someone born in the wealthier suburbs.
“So the preventative work undertaken by our public health team is vital if we’re going to continue tackling those inequalities.
“An across the board cut will inevitably mean less preventative work, hitting the poorest hardest. In the long-term that will have disastrous consequences and I have no doubt that these short-sighted cuts will end up costing the government, local authorities and the NHS far more than is saved.”