Local authorities to get cash to promote breastfeeding and action on tooth decay
Councils will be able to get extra funding to encourage breast-feeding and combat child tooth decay as part of a government plan for local authorities to take a greater role in improving public health.
In a public health framework to be outlined on Monday by the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, local authorities will be alloted more than £2bn for the role. Councils that get the best results across 60 factors influencing health will be awarded extra funds under a so-called "health premium" incentive scheme.
Along with breast-feeding and tooth decay, they will be expected to tackle homelessness and the number of young people in the criminal justice system. A figure of £5.2bn will be spent on public health next year while the budget will increase in real terms each year after that, Lansley will say in a speech in London to the Faculty of Public Health.
"We all want to be healthy. No one wants an unhealthy existence," he will say. "And the job of the government – and my responsibility – is to help people live healthier lives. A failure to recognise that meant 2000-2010 was a decade in which public health was seen as relatively unimportant, something to be sidelined.
"Obesity rates from 2000-2010 rose from 21.2% to 26.1% so now over a quarter of adults are obese. Sexually transmitted infections, after the steep declines in the 80s to 90s, doubled in the subsequent decade.
"And health inequalities persist, with gaps in life expectancy of over a decade between people born in the richest areas and people born in the poorest." The Guardian