Recent figures released by the Department for Health show the Conservative government is planning a £1.6million cut to the public health budget in Southwark.
The move has come under fire as the Government announced it in the middle of the financial year. It is the eighth largest budget cut of London’s thirty-three councils.
The public health budget pays to help the Council and local NHS to improve people's health to ensure less pressure on the NHS. Southwark has some of the highest levels in London of residents with mental health, obesity and sexual health issues. Public health budgets also include funding for encouraging Southwark residents to exercise more, give up smoking, drink less and come off harmful drugs.
Liberal Democrats in the previous Coalition government ensured that responsibility and funding for public health services returned to local authorities. This move gives local councillors a leading role in designing services to improve public health and wellbeing in their communities.
At Liberal Democrat party conference this week, Southwark group leader, Councillor Anood Al-Samerai, moved a debate on public health services and attacked the Government plans.
Southwark Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson, Councillor David Noakes, said:
"This funding cut will mean that Southwark residents will be less able to make good decisions about their health and when they do need help it is less likely to be there for them.
"Cutting the budget in the middle of the financial year means it will be really difficult to make these savings.
“Southwark Liberal Democrats say these are the wrong cuts, made in the wrong way and they will end up costing the Government and the NHS more than is saved."