The public health grant is paid to local authorities from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) budget. It is used to provide vital preventative services that help to support health. This includes smoking cessation, drug and alcohol services, children's health services and sexual health services, as well as broader public health support across local authorities and the NHS.
- The public health grant has been cut by 26% on a real-terms per person basis since 2015/16.
- Additional but time-limited funding for drug and alcohol treatment has been allocated to local authorities. Taking account of this additional spend leaves broader public health funding 21% lower on a real terms per person basis since 2015/16.
- Some of the largest reductions in spend over this period were for stop smoking services and tobacco control, falling by 45% in real terms, as well as drug and alcohol services for adults (17%) and sexual health services (29%).
- Poor health is strongly associated with living in socioeconomically deprived areas. A girl born today in the most deprived 10% of local areas is expected to live 19 fewer years in good health than a girl born in the least deprived.
- However, real-terms per person cuts to the grant have tended to be greater in more deprived areas. In Blackpool, ranked as the most deprived upper tier local authority in England, the cut to the grant (including new drug and alcohol treatment funding) has been one of the largest – at £33 in real terms per person since 2015/16.
- Local authority public health interventions funded by the grant provide excellent value for money, with each additional year of good health achieved in the population by public health interventions costing £3,800. This is three to four times lower than the cost resulting from NHS interventions of £13,500.