Rural Public Health funding

Local authorities (upper tier and unitary) are responsible for improving the health of their local population and reducing health inequalities

In 2020/21 the total public health grant to local authorities will be £3.279bn, increasing from £3.134bn in 2019/20. The grant is ring fenced for use on public health functions exclusively for all ages.

The overall grant allocation has increased by 4.61%. However, not every authority has the same increase: fourteen authorities have an increase of 6.83%; the lowest increases are 1.99% (North Tyneside, North Somerset).  The variations appear to have been caused “by an adjustment to cover the estimated additional Agenda for Change pay costs of eligible staff working in organisations commissioned by local authorities, or by the local authority, to deliver public health services”. 

To show the situation as it stands, rural-urban allocation per head averages were calculated alongside year-on-year and Predominantly Rural to Predominantly Urban percentage comparisons.  For these calculations 2011 Rural-Urban Classification of Local Authorities alongside population estimates from the 2016-based subnational population projections were used.

As can be seen from this table, whilst the gap between rural and urban allocations has slightly decreased, Predominantly Urban authorities are allocated 54.3% more than Predominantly Rural Authorities.

The Rural Services Network has long campaigned for fair funding for rural areas, and this includes funding for health services where of particular concern is access to health services.    

The public health allocations and monetary conditions for local authorities to improve health in local populations can be accessed here


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