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Tim Farron

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MP urges minister to start investing in preventative mental health care for Cumbria

May 16, 2019 9:32 AM

In the House of Commons this week, local MP Tim Farron urged the Government to stop robbing Cumbria of money for vital preventative mental health care.

Cumbria is currently one of the 10 local authorities receiving the least money per head from the Conservative Government for public health funding.

Cumbria's spending has dropped to just £36 per head-barely half the national average of £63 per head, and significantly lower than that of the City of London, which receives £241 per head.

This means that the county council is only able to spend just 75p per child each year on preventive mental health care.

Speaking during a debate on public health, Tim said: "Proper investment in public health budgets would allow us to place a mental health worker in every school. The key to young people being resilient and healthy, and to making sure that problems do not become so severe further down the line, is surely to do just that.

"The Government's failure to take prevention seriously puts at risk a range of preventive health measures-physical as well as mental.

"The question that the minister must answer is this: when the Government verbally prioritised preventive care but then cut public health by £85 million, were they being deliberately cynical or was it mere incompetence? Either way, will she fix this matter and restore public health funding to Cumbria and elsewhere so that we can tackle mental and physical health problems before they become tragically serious?"

In response, the minister responsible for public health, Seema Kennedy said: "I can tell the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale that we do take prevention extremely seriously.

"I know that he and I have a meeting scheduled to discuss healthcare in his constituency.

"We have published our vision for prevention, setting out how we will put that at the heart of the health and social care system, and later this year, we will launch a Green Paper on prevention."