Scarborough councillors criticise ‘disgraceful’ £4m reduction of public health funding in North Yorkshire

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Scarborough councillors have criticised a “disgraceful” £4m reduction of North Yorkshire’s public health grant since 2013.

Councillors have said that a 15 per cent reduction in public health funding across North Yorkshire is “disgraceful” and should not be done “in a civilised society”.

At a meeting of the Scarborough and Whitby Area Constituency Committee, councillors also praised the public health team for its work in providing a range of support and services to mothers, newborns, and children on the coast.

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A report presented to members of the committee on Friday, June 9 revealed that the 15 per cent reduction in funding has “translated to a requirement for a £4m saving in public health spending in North Yorkshire.”

Scarborough councillors have spoken out about the reduction in public health fundingScarborough councillors have spoken out about the reduction in public health funding
Scarborough councillors have spoken out about the reduction in public health funding

Presenting the report, Dr Gill Kelly, a specialist in public health nursing, said that after the transfer of public health from the NHS to local authorities in 2013 “there has been a significant reduction in the grant over those years which means we have £4m that has been locked off from the grant over that period in North Yorkshire.”

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Rich Maw said: “I think whilst we might celebrate some improvement in the service delivery, I’d like to highlight the Government cuts as indicated by Dr Kelly in her report.”

He added: “These grants are paid to local authorities who are being shortchanged by £1bn a year.

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“There should be no doubt that what happens in Downing Street affects West Street.”

Cllr Neil Swannick said: “I fully endorse the comments that were made by Cllr Maw that it’s a disgrace that these budget cuts are being made on the most vulnerable people.

“In no civilised society would you reduce these kinds of services.

“But, having said that, I have to say that looking at the presentation today, this team is doing very well.”

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The Whitby councillor added: “You have got some very good results and performance statistics and to achieve these results is no mean feat, especially in the context of these budget cuts.”

Members of the area committee also received an update on the healthy child 0-19 service which has the largest spending allocation from the North Yorkshire public health grant at 34 per cent.

Dr Kelly said that the healthy start programme for children “is seen as a massive priority” and added that April’s local government reorganisation would allow the county’s public health service to operate “far more effectively across the whole region”.

It was also noted by councillors at the meeting that the healthy start scheme, which helps pregnant women and mothers buy healthy food and milk “has suffered a £90m cut in the past decade”.