Lib Dems call out scapegoating of Public Health England

Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats are calling for the County Council to share it’s grave concerns over the scrapping of Public Health England in midst of global pandemic.

At a time when cases across the UK are on the rise – most recently topping 3,000 cases per day, heralding a second spike – Boris Johnson’s government has declared it is scrapping Public Health England. 

Gloucestershire Lib Dems are calling this out as a politically motivated attempt to shift the blame from this Government to unelected state officials – taking time and resources away from tackling the pandemic, endangering the ability to tackle local outbreaks and harming the country’s recovery. 

Cllrs Iain Dobie and Nigel Robbins are bringing forward a motion to tomorrow’s Full Council asking the Council Leader and Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for Health to share the Council’s concerns, to call for a thorough enquiry into why Britain has one of the highest mortality rates in the world and to call for the reinstatement of a real term cut of 25 per cent in the Public Health budget since 2015.

Ahead of the Full Council, proposer of the motion Cllr Iain Dobie said:

“Since Matt Hancock’s announcement that Public Health England will be scrapped, health officials and commentators have inundated the airwaves to call-out a transparent attempt to shift the blame from Government ministers to unelected officials.

“And it is no wonder they want someone to blame, with the UK going into a second spike of the pandemic which has already cost more than 65,000 lives – one of the highest mortality rates in the world – far higher than the USA and Italy (not to mention Germany, New Zealand, etc)

“Yet dismantling PHE at this time will only do more harm, and without any plans for preventative treatment, it will leave wider societal health rudderless.”

Seconder of the motion, Cllr Nigel Robbins, added:

“Shifting the blame from ministerial failures to unelected officials is a feature of Boris Johnson’s Government – most recently seen with Gavin Williams refusing to step aside of the exams fiasco.  On this occasion, however, the wholesale reorganisation of Public Health England in the midst of a pandemic will cost lives.

“I hope all Gloucestershire councillors will recognise this and join our calls to stop this restructuring, to support a thorough and transparent enquiry into Britain’s mishandling of the pandemic, and to reinstate the Tory 25 per cent cut to the Public Health budget.”

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