ADPH London’s response to Public Health grant allocation
After a lengthy delay, on 14 March, the government published the Public Health Grant allocations to councils in England for 2023/24, alongside indicative allocations for 2024/25.
In 2023 to 2024, the total public health grant to councils will increase by 3.3% to £3.529 billion. The grant will be ring-fenced for use on public health functions. Also, indicative allocations for 2024-25, will see a further 1.3% cash uplift which would take 2024-25 funding to £3.575 billion.
The guidance sets out the allocations and conditions for using the grant. Details of the indicative public health allocations for the year 2024/25 are available and are also linked below.
ADPH London has responded to the recently announced grant allocation, voicing the collective concern of Directors of Public Health in London that the modest increase is insufficient to address the additional burdens on public health finances, caused by increased demand for services, inflationary pressures and increased salary costs following upcoming agreements on NHS pay.
This modest increase in the grant will not alleviate the pressures on public health funding across London.
“We have recently had the announcement that the ring-fenced public health grant allocation to local authorities will see an increase of 3.3% in cash terms for 23/24 and a smaller increase of 1.3% in 24/25. This modest increase in the grant will not alleviate the pressures on public health funding across London. To meet the cost of maintaining our current service offer across vital universal preventative services like health visiting, sexual health services and drugs and alcohol support, which are mainly provided by NHS organisations, we will need to cover increased salary costs resulting from upcoming agreements on NHS pay, as well as increased overheads driven by inflationary pressures in areas such as energy costs. The percentage increase in the grant is well below the current inflation rate and well below the pay offer of 5% made by HMG to NHS staff, putting pressure on our existing provision and leaving little room to provide much needed investment into the long-term health of Londoners.
“Life expectancy was beginning to fall in many communities in London prior to the COVID pandemic and this has been worsened by the pandemic and its aftermath, as well as the current cost of living crisis. In addition, many people have left the workforce early due to ill health.
“At a time when NHS and other public sector budgets are being squeezed, it is more important than ever that public health budgets are protected and prioritised, so that the expertise of Directors of Public Health and their teams can continue to direct resources into preventing ill health and reversing the decline in health and wellbeing outcomes being seen across London. We will continue to work with colleagues across Local Government, NHS organisations and other key partners so that all Londoners are supported to live long and healthy lives.”