17 March 2021

Charity criticises 'small' increase in public health funding

Charity criticises small increase in public health funding image

The Government has increased councils' public health grants by £45m for 2021/22.

Councils will be allocated £3.3bn in public health funding next year, in addition to £80m to fund drug treatments and over £70m for weight management services.

However, the 'small' increase was criticised by the Health Foundation, who said grant allocations represent a £1bn real terms cut compared to 2015/16.

David Finch, senior fellow at the Health Foundation, said: 'This is a 24% cut – equivalent to £1bn – on a real term per capita basis compared to 2015/16. These allocations have come late, just before the start of the next financial year, making planning ahead even more difficult.

‘Local authority public health teams have a vital part to play in the national response to COVID-19, working alongside the NHS. The pandemic has shone a light on the essential work these teams do and reinforces the need for a properly funded, resilient local public health system.'

The Local Government Association (LGA) called for public health funding to reach at least £3.9bn by 2025/25 to match the growth in overall NHS funding.

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'Tackling our health inequalities, which have been so starkly exposed during the pandemic, will require significant long-term investment in the public health services which can improve people’s health and wellbeing and reduce future pressure on the NHS.'

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