Council Leader urges Government rethink on cuts to Public Health funding for Plymouth


Plymouth City Council’s Leader is urging the Government to make sure the city is not further disadvantaged by proposed cuts to Public Health funding.

Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council, has written to both Chancellor George Osborne and Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, to ask them to rethink plans to cut £200m from public health budgets nationally across the board.

Public Health England is currently consulting on plans to reduce the funding for local authorities this year and their preference is to apply the same cuts across the board.

But Plymouth already receives considerably less Public Health funding than other local authority areas, with just £47 per head of population compared with £77 per head for Portsmouth, £67 for Brighton and Hove, and £136 for Kensington and Chelsea.

Councillor Evans said: “Plymouth is currently under-funded by approximately £3m per year due to an allocation of £47 per head of population, rather than the target value of £58 per head. This under-funding persists despite the fact that complex health challenges in Plymouth mean that for 13 of the 32 health indicators in the Public Health England Health Profile, Plymouth has a worse than national average outcome.

“We are asking the Government to address the inequitable current public health funding allocations by making savings from those local authorities who are funded to levels above their target value and by raising the funding allocation of those below their target value to that value.

“In addition, Plymouth was recently announced along with the rest of the NEW Devon area, to take part in the ‘Success Regime’ which works with challenged health economies. We are pleading with the Government to recognise that public health funding and a preventative health approach will be an essential resource to help these health economies.

“We have also asked the Government to recognise that local authority public health funding is used to commission NHS services including stop smoking services and sexual health services, and the statement that the statement that these funding cuts are not related to NHS services is incorrect.

“As a council we will continue to lobby central Government for fairer funding for Public Health to address our missing millions, and we will be responding formally to the national consultation.”

Anyone who wants to respond to the national consultation by Public Health England can do so online here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/local-authority-public-health-allocations-2015-to-2016