Children’s services hardest hit by public health cuts

Services aimed at children and young people are bearing the brunt of cuts to public health spending by local authorities, an HSJ investigation has revealed.

Overall, our analysis identified planned spending reductions worth £50.5m in 2016-17, across 77 local authorities which provided information.

These represent around half the councils with public health responsibility. If the pattern is repeated in the other half, the overall funding reduction in 2016-17 would be around £100m in cash terms. HSJ was told the actual figure was likely to be higher, as some local authorities were still in the process of agreeing spending plans that are likely to include further reductions this year.

Due to variations in definitions and reporting, it is not possible to calculate the percentage change in total public health budgets year-on-year. However, the combined planned public health spending of the 77 councils is around £1.3bn, indicating the reductions could represent about 4 per cent of the total in cash terms.

Full story in HSJ 4 July 2016