Media reports that further cuts to local government public health budgets are on the cards as a way of slashing overall health spending should be strongly resisted, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Friday 20 November).
Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service and 70,000 in local government, said that if such a move was being contemplated by chancellor George Osborne it smacks of ‘the dodgy economics of Arthur Daley’.
Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer said: “The public health aspects of the NHS, such as health visiting and school nursing, are being transferred to local authorities.
“Already £200 million of cuts to the public health budgets have been proposed. If more are planned, they should be strongly resisted.
“Health secretary Jeremy Hunt and communities secretary Greg Clark need to develop some backbone to stand up to George Osborne on this vital issue. The chancellor is fixated by the austerity ideology, regardless of the serious consequences to public health.
“Any cuts to the overall health budget by stealth smack of the dodgy economics of Arthur Daley.
“Public health cuts are a false economy and cuts to health prevention impact heavily on NHS services.
“The cuts to local government - already implemented since 2010 - have been draconian and public health will collapse with a further axing to funding.
“Local councils face a financial meltdown and further cuts could see funds being diverted from public health to deliver basic waste, refuse and social care services.
“It does seem incredibly short sighted to cut primary care which can prevent ill health. This will mean people end up swamping already struggling secondary care yet further.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.