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George Osborne cuts public health spending by £200 million

9 June 2015 - 11:36am

The Department of Health is to consult with local authorities in England about how a £200 million cut in the public health budget can be achieved.

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Major public health challenges include obesity and physical inactivity

A spokesperson for the department told Frontline: ‘The NHS budget will remain protected, but difficult decisions need to be made right across government to reduce the deficit.

‘Local authorities have already set an excellent example of how more can be done for less to provide the best value for the taxpayer.

‘A consultation will now be held with them to decide the best way of delivering the savings that need to be made.'

The £200 million cut in 2015-16 was announced by the chancellor on 4 June as part of cuts totalling more than £3 billion across Whitehall departments. George Osborne said the savings would contribute to the government’s aim of reducing the national debt by £4.5 billion.

Karen Middleton, the chief executive of the CSP, warned that cuts to public health spending could damage programmes to prevent ill health and jeopardise greater integration of services.

‘These short-sighted cuts came just hours after Jeremy Hunt spoke of the importance of tackling obesity and supporting public health,’ she said.

‘Prevention is absolutely crucial if we are to overcome the major public health challenges of obesity and physical inactivity and we must accept it costs money upfront – that is the nature of the beast.’

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