Fears have been raised that cuts to public health spending could have a “devastating” impact on Blackpool which already has one of the highest rates of premature deaths in the country.
Now health chiefs are calling for the resort to be protected from any reductions in funding.
It is incredibly worrying to think our budget for the year will be reduced in any way.Coun Graham Cain
The Government has announced it is slashing public health spending nationally by £200m in this financial year.
The budgets are now the responsibility of councils and in Blackpool funding has been harnessed to tackle issues such as alcohol abuse, smoking and poor nutrition.
Blackpool’s Health and Wellbeing Board is to write to the Government warning of the consequences any cuts could have on residents.
Coun Graham Cain, chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “At this stage we do not know how the latest round of cuts to public health will affect us. It is incredibly worrying to think our budget for the year will be reduced in any way.
“This year’s budget has already been allocated and we have already commissioned vital services from the NHS and others to help the people of Blackpool.
“As chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board I will be writing a strongly-worded letter to the Government to ensure they know the devastating impact any further cuts will have on the health of our residents.
“The other members of the board have also committed to lobbying at every available opportunity, it is an issue that affects us all.
“It is no secret that Blackpool has some of the worst health statistics in the country, we have plans in place to improve these but the funding must be there to assist us.”
The Blackpool branch of health campaign group 38 Degrees believes the resort could see cuts of around £1.3m.
In February, the latest statistics from Public Health England revealed of 150 authorities in England, Blackpool was rated second for people dying before the age of 75 with 549 deaths per 100,000 people.
The resort also topped the table for premature deaths relating to lung disease and liver disease – illnesses linked to smoking and drinking.
James Sorah, spokesman for Blackpool Against the Cuts, said; “Money spent on public health is vital because prevention is better than cure, so it is lunacy to think of cutting it.
“It would be particularly hard on a place like Blackpool which does have high rates of drug abuse, alcohol abuse etc tied to the high levels of poverty.”