Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has today set out a major commitment to promoting health and prevention of illness, with the announcement of a two-year ring fenced budget for local authorities.
For the first time, from April 2013, public health budgets will be protected, with local authorities taking the lead for improving the health of their local communities. This will help drive local efforts to improve health and wellbeing by tackling the wider determinants of poor health.
The way budgets have been decided also marks a new way of funding public health services. Building on advice from an independent expert group - the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA) - funding will be specifically targeted, for the first time, at those areas with the worst health outcomes. This means that the areas with the greatest needs will receive more money.
The funding allocations announced today represent a substantial investment in public health, supporting the Government’s vision of helping people live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives and tackling inequalities in health.
In 2013/14 the budget for local public health services will be just under £2.7 billion. In 2014/15 the budget will be just under £2.8 billion. Every local authority will receive a real terms increase in funding.
Providing a two-year budget will also give Local Authorities a clearer long-term understanding of their future funding as they prepare to take on their new responsibilities.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“Too many people die too early from diseases that can be prevented. I want more people to be able to look forward to an independent and active old age and developing high quality public health services is essential to make this a reality.
”Today’s announcement is a major investment and a step toward securing these services for the areas that need them most.
“By putting local authorities in charge of public health, we are giving them the power, freedom and the funding to tackle the issues that blight their local areas and help improve the lives of their local communities. Improving the health of local people will be at the heart of everything they do - from social care to transport, housing, planning and environment.”
Chief Executive Designate of Public Health England Duncan Selbie, said:
“We welcome this investment and look forward to working alongside local government as they take on their new leadership responsibilities for health and well being.”
Local authorities will be free to drive improvement in health and wellbeing and will embed this focus across everything they do - from social care, to transport, housing and planning. They will be able to use their ring-fenced budget in innovative ways to transform the lives of local people.
Notes to editors
The full allocations, including a breakdown of funding for all local authorities and accompanying documents can be found on the Department of Health website.
The Government has also committed to real terms growth for all Local Authorities.
The actual allocations are based on a combination of each what ACRA set out each local authority should spend on public health - this is called their target position - and the amount of money that was historically spent on public health in each area.