Local Authorities (Public Health Duties)

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 26th April 2011.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 2:30 pm, 26th April 2011

How much funding he plans to allocate to local authorities in order to perform their new public health duties in each of the next three years.

Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

We want local authorities to have the powers and the resources that they need in order to make a real difference to the health and well-being of their local populations. Shadow allocations for the local ring-fenced public health budget will be announced later this year.

Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

Hull’s Lib Dem council does not have a very good record on public health. It is currently slashing services delivered to children through its children’s centres and early years services. We all know that public health can be improved by that early investment. What is the Minister going to do to ensure that councils take their wider public health responsibilities seriously?

Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. With resources come responsibilities. I am pleased that Ms Abbott has welcomed the shift in public health. There is no doubt about it: local authorities have a long history of delivering public health improvements, and this will give them the opportunity to see again some of the improvements that were long awaited under the last Government.