August 20, 2015 12:02 PM

Figures released by the Department for Health shows the Conservative Government is planning a £3.1 million cut to the public health budget in Devon. The budget pays to help improve people's health so there is less pressure on the NHS.

Work undertaken by public health budgets include encouraging people to exercise more, give up smoking, drink less, come off drugs and drink and avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

Devon County Council's public health team had been allocated £26.6 million for this year but face an in-year cut of 6% (£1.65 million).

"This cut will mean that local residents are less likely to make good decisions on their health, and when they do need help it is less likely to be there for them, says Lib Dem Councillor Alan Connett, Shadow Leader of Devon County Council.

"Cutting the budget in the middle of the financial year means it will be really difficult to make these cuts. Liberal Democrats say these are the wrong cuts, made in the wrong way and they will end up costing the Government and the NHS more than is saved."

Plymouth is losing £921,000 in public health funding while in Torbay the cut is £551,000.

In total, across the county of Devon a total of £3.1 million is being axed from public health, one of the most positive areas of long-term health investment that aims to prevent ill health, reduce pressure on the NHS and improve life chances for residents, added Cllr Connett.

Central Devon Parliamentary Spokesperson, Alex White added: 'These cuts come at the worst possible time for residents across Devon. After a budget in which millions of pounds was taken away from ordinary working people, Draconian cuts are now being applied to the public health budget . Other avenues for cost savings, including using surplus money in budgets, rather than sitting on it, should be attempted first. As usual, the Conservatives are hitting the poorest hardest, only the Liberal Democrats will stand up for public health and working people in Devon'.