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LGA - Councils respond to £200 million public health funding reduction

Cllr David Sparks, Chair of the Local Government Association responded to the Government's announcement on in-year reductions to Whitehall departmental spending.

"It is clear that there will be further public spending reductions from the Government and councils will continue to play their part as they have done over the last five years.

"However, councils already have to find savings of £2.5 billion before April after receiving 8.5 per cent less funding from government to run local services in 2015/16. These savings were already going to be the most difficult yet.

"Core local government funding has been protected in-year and the Local Government Settlement has not been re-opened which is good news. However, a £200 million reduction in public health funding will clearly have some impact on councils' ability to improve the public's health and wellbeing and reduce demand for hospital, health and social care services.

"Councils have finalised budgets and planned spending for the next 12 months. Local authorities can't be handed further in-year reductions and be expected to be able to protect the services upon which people rely.

"Councils have worked hard over the past five years to shield residents from the spending reductions in government funding but the same efficiencies cannot be remade.

"Local services must be adequately funded and councils given the freedom to pay for them.

"With a further reduction in public spending expected next year, we urgently need a new settlement for England which devolves decisions about infrastructure, transport, housing, skills and health and social care, down to local areas so they can tackle the big issues facing their residents and ensure our public services survive the next few years."

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