Lib Dems: Govt must announce public health grant amidst Coronavirus crisis
Today (09/03), the Liberal Democrats have called on the Health Secretary to announce the public health grant amidst the Coronavirus crisis.
Ed Davey, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Munira Wilson , Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson, have written to Matt Hancock calling on him to announce the funding to ensure councils could fulfil their role as a "key part" in containing the virus.
Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
"Having failed to tell local councils how much the public health grant will be, the Tories have made it all but impossible for councils to ensure our communities have proper healthcare.
"Even if it was business as usual this would be shameful, but with the Coronavirus it is nothing short of an abdication of duty.
"Public health information is vital to lowering the Coronavirus peak, but even more alarming is the inability for local councils to try and address the inevitable gaps in our social care sector getting worse.
"Whilst the Prime Minister and Health Secretary are happily touring the TV studios, they are utterly failing at the most basic level to support councils in their vital work."
The full text of the letter is as follows:
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing to urge you to immediately announce the public health grant for local authorities for 2020/21.
The unacceptable delay has made it extremely difficult for local government to plan health services in the community such as sexual health services, the NHS Health Check programme and public health advice to NHS Commissioners.
With the coronavirus, this delay has become even more serious.
Public Health funding is a crucial component for ensuring public services work together to issue advice and information, but also plan for knock on effects on the social care workforce for example.
The delay has also compounded the severe reductions in local authorities’ public health grant funding – over £700 million in real terms between 2015/16 and 2019/20 – which has left councils under incredible pressure to deliver vital community health services.
The Government has said on various occasions that the best way to reduce the peak of Coronavirus is to contain and delay it – public health information is a key part of that strategy and it must not be neglected by this government.
Ed Davey MP, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Munira Wilson MP, Health, Wellbeing and Social Care Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats