The government has slashed public health funding to the borough of Waltham Forest by £1.3m, which means some services may be reduced or even closed.
The £16.8m allocated falls £7.5m short of the government’s own estimations. It is less than half of that of Tower Hamlets (£36.9m), while neighbouring Hackney will receive £34.1m. Newham will be allocated £32.7m.
Cllr Ahsan Khan, Waltham Forest council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said the borough is “suffering at the hands of an ill-equipped funding arrangement used by the government”.
Waltham Forest has the health needs of an inner London borough in terms of issues like sexual health and substance misuse.
The council has already made significant savings on substance misuse and health visiting services last year, but further cuts ultimately risk leading to the reduction or closure of some health services.
Cllr Khan continued: “Our £7.5m gap between funding and identified need is more than double the gap of any other borough in London – and looking across the capital, roughly a third of boroughs are receiving millions of pounds more funding than their level of need requires.
“When allocating funding, the Government is failing to take into account our borough’s high population churn, migration and diversity – all of which make it more challenging, and more expensive, to deliver services and educate local people about public health issues.
“We’re absolutely clear that in order to deliver good local health in the long term, prevention is better than cure – as this kind of work will save lives and money. However, we can’t do this effectively without adequate funding to develop preventative services and launch more support initiatives.
“We believe that the current allocations of public health money will only serve to widen the health inequalities that exist across London.”