Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne has condemned the government for actively increasing health inequalities after new figures revealed that many deprived areas will receive far less funding for public health than more affluent areas – despite higher levels of deprivation.
For example, Tameside is set to receive £51 in public health grant per person and Stockport £43 in public health grant per person. Meanwhile in Kensington and Chelsea – the grant is £130 per person.
The money comes from the Department of Health and is for local councils to promote healthy living and prevent illness.
Despite the gains made in the last decade, there is still much more to do on public health: smoking kills 80,000 people a year, alcohol over 6,500 and around one in four adults are obese. What’s more, the evidence is clear that public health problems are closely linked to poverty. It’s known, for example, that deprived children are nearly twice as likely to be obese as the least deprived.
Local MP Andrew Gwynne MP is calling on the health secretary Jeremy Hunt to look again at the allocations and abide by his Department’s own aim of reducing inequalities in life expectancy between areas.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“I find it hard to believe that Kensington and Chelsea, home to some of the richest people in the country, is due to get £130 public health funding per person compared to £56 for Tameside and £45 for Stockport.”
“The evidence is clear that public health problems are closely linked to poverty, but these latest figures show that Ministers have refused to listen to the evidence and have channelled funding to councils with wealth, healthy populations at the expense of areas like ours.
“If the government is serious about reducing health inequalities rather than making them worse, Ministers must change tack and give all areas a fair deal on public health funding.”