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Government announces £200m cuts to public health budget

Public health budgets are set to be slashed by £200m this year under a raft of measures to ‘bring down public debt’, the Government has announced.

The announcement, made yesterday by Chancellor George Osborne, listed the cut in funding as Department of Health (DH) ‘non-NHS’ savings.

It means the £2.8bn originally earmarked for councils to spend on public health in 2015/16 will be cut by 7%.

A Treasury spokesperson told Pulse the £200m figure was based on projected local authority underspends and that the cut in funding would not affect frontline services.

The spokesperson added that the underspend will be used to make savings elsewhere, but said this will not affect frontline services. There will also be a consultation on how the savings will be made.

A DH spokesperson said: ‘The NHS budget will remain protected but difficult decisions need to be made right across Government to reduce the deficit.

‘Local authorities have already set an excellent example of how more can be done for less to provide the best value for the taxpayer. A consultation will now be held with them to decide the best way of delivering the savings that need to be made.’