Councils’ budgets for public health will rise to £2.66bn this year and almost £2.8bn in 2014-15, the Department of Health has announced.
The figures are a significant increase from the £2.2bn initially due to be allocated to local government for its public health responsibilities, which come into effect in April.
Graeme McDonald, director of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (Solace), told HSJ’s sister title Local Government Chronicle: “These are above-inflation increases for all authorities, of more than 5 per cent per year on average.
“We are very pleased about that. It shows a welcome commitment to preventative services.”
The DH is also due this morning to publish authorities’ individual allocations for public health.
UPDATE: Councils’ individual public health budgets for the next two years have been published here.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement: “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.”
David Rogers (Lib Dem), chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “This marks a real commitment to support local government in tackling vital issues such as smoking, alcohol abuse and obesity…[Two-year funding] will provide councils with a greater level of certainty and help them put new programmes in place to integrate public health with existing council services and start addressing some of the wider social and economic causes of ill health.”
Cllr Rogers said there were “outstanding concerns” over the individual allocations for each council, but said he was pleased that the DH had pledged to work with councils that could provide evidence of a need for more funding.