Funding to tackle Scotland’s alcohol and drug crisis slashed

6 Apr 2017

Crucial funding to tackle Scotland’s drugs and drink crisis has been cut across Scotland, new figures have revealed today.

In half of all Scotland’s 14 Health Board areas, support for Alcohol and Drug Partnerships has fallen this year, the statistics show.

It contradicts a promise by Health Secretary Shona Robison to ensure that treatment would be maintained at “existing levels” across Scotland.

The cuts follow changes to the way drug and alcohol partnerships are funded.

Ministers have reduced their own funding but said earlier this year that Health Boards would top it up to ensure cash was maintained.

However, a Freedom of Information request by the Scottish Conservatives has shown that, in several health board areas in Scotland, this has not happened.

The biggest cut is in Lanarkshire. Spending from central government and the NHS board amounts to a cut of £700,000 on 2015-16. Funding has also gone down in Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Grampian, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

This is despite the fact Ms Robison said in January that she would be “maintaining alcohol and drugs treatment performance at existing levels across ADP locales.”

Scottish Conservative lifestyle spokesman Brian Whittle said:

“When she announced this changes, Shona Robsion could not have been clearer – overall spending on alcohol and substance misuse would be maintained at existing levels across Scotland.

“It has taken our own research to show this is simply not the case. A fall of nearly three quarters of a million pounds in some areas can only mean that support for drug and drink addiction is being cut.

“Cutting funding on alcohol and drug support  is a false economy – because people with addictions often cost far more to the justice system and the NHS, not to mention to themselves, if they do not get treatment earlier on.

“Once again, we see SNP pledges falling apart at the seams.

“The Scottish Government must now urgently review the funding of this vital projects to assess whether people who need support are not getting it because of these cuts.”

Please see a copy of Shona Robison’s letter on ADP funding, dated January 16th.

In it, Robison wrote:

“From the increased board baseline budgets we would expect a total of £15 million to also go towards supporting these efforts and maintain the overall spending on addressing alcohol and substance misuse, maintaining alcohol and drugs treatment performance at existing levels across ADP locales.”

Document including full figures of ADP funding:

Spending cuts are as follows:

NHS Lanarkshire: -£693,740

NHS Grampian: -£243,922

NHS Dumfries and Galloway: -£233,834

NHS Western Isles: -£130,510

NHS Fife: -£125,000

NHS Orkney: -£68,843

NHS Shetland: -£66,515