By Adam Gretton
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Norfolk and Suffolk have received the lowest increases in public health funding after the coalition government announced funding settlements for the next two years.
From April 1, public health budgets will be transferred from Primary Care Trusts to county councils under a reform of health services.
Authorities in Norfolk and Suffolk will each receive government funding increases of 2.8pc each over the next two years to spend on projects such as fighting obesity, smoking, alcohol misuse and other causes of ill health.
However, local authorities across England have received an average increase in public health funding of 10.8pc up until 2015. Officials from the Department of Health said 2.8pc was the minimum increase in funding with authorities getting more in areas with the worst health outcomes for residents.
Norfolk County Council will receive £29.8m in 2013/14, which equates to £34 a head, and will get £30.6m in 2014/15 from a national funding pot of £5.45bn.
Norman Lamb, Norfolk Norfolk MP and health minister, said it would be up to local authorities to spend the funding on the health projects of their choosing.
“For the first time we are giving Norfolk County Council the power, freedom and a protected budget to tackle public health issues such as alcohol abuse, smoking, and lack of exercise. That is a massive war chest to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives. We are ring-fencing that money, so it can’t be raided and used for other things.”
“It will be responsible for improving your health. This will be at the heart of everything councils do – from adult social care to transport, housing and planning, everything will be designed to get people healthier,” he said.
Suffolk County Council will get £25.5m in 2013/14, which equates to £35 per head, and will receive £26.2m the following financial year. Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “We want everyone to have a long and healthy life in Suffolk, but in spite of the many initiatives launched in the last two decades, previous governments have failed to tackle the causes of ill health and premature death. Local councils are best placed to understand local health challenges.”