Waltham Forest Council Leader Clare Coghill backs calls for fairer public funding

7 August 2019
Waltham Forest Town Hall

Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, has joined forces with over a third of upper tier council leaders across England to back Cancer Research UK’s call for the new Government to increase public health funding.

The number of people with cancer in the UK is set to rise steeply by 2030, yet research shows 4 in 10 cancer cases could be prevented through changes such as stopping smoking, being active and reducing their weight. Public health funding enables councils to provide vital services that help residents reduce their risk.

That’s why Waltham Forest has joined forces with Cancer Research UK, to help prevent ill health in their local community and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “Between 2015 and 2017, there were 608 deaths from all cancers in Waltham Forest. That’s 608 families who have lost someone, a much-loved mother, father, child, sister or brother. With education in place about the factors that cause cancer and support in place to encourage people to stop smoking or start exercising some of these lives may have been saved.

“Councils across the country are having to make increasingly tough decisions to juggle grant reductions as the demand for the services we provide soars. In this climate public health can be overlooked despite evidence showing that investment would significantly reduce the pressure of growing demand. We are determined to support all our residents to make the most of their life chances – but the Government needs to look again at the funding it provides.”

Many council leaders have joined forces, writing to Chancellor Sajid Javid, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick, calling for a joined-up solution to tackling the public health funding crisis.

George Butterworth, Senior Policy Manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer, and councils play a crucial role in stopping people from starting smoking and helping smokers to quit. Yet the funding earmarked to support these important activities has continued to be cut.”

“Sadly, only 56 per cent of councils are now able to commission a universal specialist service open to all local smokers. These cuts make no sense, when we know that on average every £1 spent on smoking cessation saves £10 in future health costs. If this Government wants to realise a smoke-free England by 2030, they urgently need to give councils a fairer deal on public health funding”.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chair of the Local Government Association Community Wellbeing Board, said: “When so many council Leaders from up and down the country, and across political parties, join forces on an issue, you know it’s time to sit up and take notice”.

“Councils have proven that they’re best-placed to deliver services and reduce ill health- but it can’t be done on a shoestring. I hope our new Prime Minister and his Cabinet are listening and ready to act.”

“Once public health gets a fair funding deal, we should see healthier communities, the Government’s prevention ambitions realised, and a much more sustainable NHS and social care system which puts prevention over cure.”

For more information, visit cruk.org