Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain has today hit out at the Government’s damaging cuts to public health funding for Bradford which has seen a real-terms reduction for the city, despite the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the role played by public health in the crisis.
Figures obtained by Imran show that the Department for Health and Social Care are cutting the funding allocation of the public health ring-fenced grant, which goes towards vital public health projects, for the 2021/22 year based on 2015/16 figures, with a real-terms cut of £17 per person in the District.
Under the 2021/22 funding allocation, Bradford will be provided with £42.6 million, which is already down from the £45 million in cash terms from 2015/16. However, when the figures are adjusted for inflation, the real terms figure see the allocation fall by a total of £8.4 million between 2015/16 and 2021/22.
This real terms cut to the funding allocation will also result in a cut of £17 per person in the last six years between 2015/16 and 2021/22, representing a fall of almost 20%. This cut would see the amount available to spend on public health initiatives for people living across Bradford dramatically reduced at one of the most critical times for public health, despite the importance of strong public health programmes being clearly demonstrated by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Reacting to the real terms cut to public health funding for Bradford, Imran is calling on the Government to immediately reverse their cuts to Bradford’s public health grant and ensure that Bradford receives significant investment to counter the city’s longstanding health inequalities, help cut GP waiting times for care and treatment, and improve life expectancy rates in Bradford that currently fall short of the national average.
Speaking on the Government’s marginal increase for public health funding Imran said:
“One of the Government’s key responsibilities is to help protect public health, so I am shocked that they are cutting funding in real terms for public health initiatives in Bradford, a city that already has one of the highest rates of health inequalities across the country and one of the highest mortality rates for Coronavirus.
“As we have seen over the past year, public health is important to the wellbeing of us all, and those places across the world with strong public health institutions have avoided some of the worst aspects of the Coronavirus pandemic, so this cut is not just irresponsible behaviour by the Government, but incredibly reckless.
“Ministers must explain in no uncertain terms why they think that it is a good idea to push through this cut in the middle of a pandemic, and they must act to reverse the damage that will be caused by their underfunding of public health projects in Bradford before it is too late.”