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Government refusing to rule out more cuts to public health budget is blow to preventative mental health care in Cumbria - MP

November 5, 2018 2:50 PM

Local MP Tim Farron says the Health Secretary has added insult to injury by refusing to rule out making further cuts to Cumbria's already underfunded public health budget.

Due to significant cuts made previously by the Government, Cumbria currently only spends £75,000 a year on tier 1 mental health preventative care, working out at just 75p per child.

But in an interview with the BBC, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock chose not to comment on whether the budget for Public Health England would be cut in the next year.

At the moment Cumbria receives just £37 per head in Public Health Allocations, compared to the national average of £64.

Back in 2015, the coalition Government made a commitment to spend £25m a year on Cumbria's public health, but cuts to spending since that mean Cumbria only gets £18m a year.

Tim said: "At a time when slashed public health budgets mean Cumbria is only able to spend 75p per child, it's an absolute kick in the teeth that the Health Secretary won't categorically rule out making more cuts.

"Mental health problems, specifically among young people, continue to be the number one issue in my postbag.

"Preventative mental health care, whether it comes in the form of health visitors, school nurses or GPs, is vitally important in supporting our young people in the early stages of mental health problems, so that those problems don't become so severe.

"But that kind of vital care simply won't be available to our young people unless the Government stops going down this incredibly dangerous road of cutting public health budgets."

Tim is running a petition calling for the Government to invest in Cumbria's public health which can be found here.