Councils to receive funding boost - to help people avoid poor health

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Parliamentary Correspondent

TOWN halls were promised a rare funding boost yesterday, as they prepare to take on the crucial task of helping people avoid poor health - and an early death.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced ring-fenced budgets worth £5.45bn across England for the next two financial years, to improve public health.

From April, local councils will have a duty to take necessary measures to improve the health of their population, with the demise of primary care trusts (PCTs).

The government believes they can be more successful in tackling vast inequalities in people's health, that the existence of the NHS since 1948 has done little to narrow.

Mr Hunt said councils would enjoy an average funding boost of 5.5 per cent from April, compared with current funding - with some receiving ten per cent more.

He said: "Too many people die too early from diseases that can be prevented. I want more people to be able to look forward to an independent and active old age.

"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."

The figures showed that most North-East councils will receive smaller increases next year, and in 2014-15, of 2.8 per cent.

However, Mr Hunt said independent experts had ensured funding was "specifically targeted, for the first time, at those areas with the worst health outcomes"

One Conservative council - Westminster, in London - has already triggered a row by threatening to cut the benefits of obese and unhealthy people who refuse to take exercise.

Smart cards could be used to track claimants' use of leisure centres, allowing local authorities to dock housing and council benefit payments from those who refuse to carry out exercise prescribed by their GP.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:58pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Ration All says...

Nanny State or Brave New World?. Joe Bloggs is now to be compelled to take exercise! But nothing in Government is quite joined up. Funding for care of the elderly, especially the demented, is increasingly problematic, so if we don't voluntarily lead healthy lives, why should the state be preoccupied with our longevity?

Government is obsessed with turning Darwin upside down - i.e. to the survival of the least fit, with the NHS paying for stomach tucks, treatment centres for drug users and alcoholics, not to mention liver transplants for the latter group. Meanwhile those who are sick for no fault of their own can find themselves at the mercy of the postcode lottery.

Of course government believes that exercise requires the availability of expensive leisure centres and gymnasia, when the elderly in particular only need the self-discipline for a regular brisk walk and a healthy diet. At the same time government cuts are causing leisure centres to close.

Here in Northallerton walking is effectively discouraged by hazardous pavements. Road intersections have been planned with large radii of curvature so that drivers can take junctions at speed. The pavement beneath the railway main line at the station is a dice with death. Pedestrians are treated as social failures - one rung beneath bus passengers. If any councillor were to prise himself out of his car, could he find a pedestrian right-of-way south from Northallerton towards South Otterington?

Instead of proposing various incoherent and unaffordable initiatives in order to impress voters and take charge over their lives, thereby increasing the cultures of dependency and expectation, politicians should encourage us to take responsibility for our own lives - and deaths.
Nanny State or Brave New World?. Joe Bloggs is now to be compelled to take exercise! But nothing in Government is quite joined up. Funding for care of the elderly, especially the demented, is increasingly problematic, so if we don't voluntarily lead healthy lives, why should the state be preoccupied with our longevity? Government is obsessed with turning Darwin upside down - i.e. to the survival of the least fit, with the NHS paying for stomach tucks, treatment centres for drug users and alcoholics, not to mention liver transplants for the latter group. Meanwhile those who are sick for no fault of their own can find themselves at the mercy of the postcode lottery. Of course government believes that exercise requires the availability of expensive leisure centres and gymnasia, when the elderly in particular only need the self-discipline for a regular brisk walk and a healthy diet. At the same time government cuts are causing leisure centres to close. Here in Northallerton walking is effectively discouraged by hazardous pavements. Road intersections have been planned with large radii of curvature so that drivers can take junctions at speed. The pavement beneath the railway main line at the station is a dice with death. Pedestrians are treated as social failures - one rung beneath bus passengers. If any councillor were to prise himself out of his car, could he find a pedestrian right-of-way south from Northallerton towards South Otterington? Instead of proposing various incoherent and unaffordable initiatives in order to impress voters and take charge over their lives, thereby increasing the cultures of dependency and expectation, politicians should encourage us to take responsibility for our own lives - and deaths. Ration All
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree