Relief for Blackpool’s public health grant as £5m health budget loss averted

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Proposals to change the way public health grants are distributed to local authorities have been put on the back-burner easing fears Blackpool could lose out on vital funding.

The town, which has some of the worst health statistics in the country, had faced having its annual grant cut from £18m to £13m under plans to change the formula for handing out the money from government.

Blackpool Councils chief executive Neil Jack

Blackpool Councils chief executive Neil Jack

But Blackpool Council’s chief executive Neil Jack told a meeting of the audit committee proposed changes had been scrapped for now.

He said: “We have had a lot of different stories abut the future of public health grants and funding.

“We have had recent assurance from Public Health England that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

“We have one of the highest per capita public health grants in the country due to the legacy issues here.”

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Mr Jack said a move towards a more formula-based system from the current local priority system could have seen Blackpool’s public health grant cut to £13m from £18m.

But he said there had now been a step back from this approach “by recognising inequalities”.

“It has gone on the back-burner as it should have done”, he added.

The public health budget is used to tackle issues such as smoking, alcohol abuse and obesity which are damaging to people’s health.

Blackpool has some of the worst life expectancy figures in the country.

Men in the resort can expect to live for an average of 74.2 years, compared to 79.5 years for England.

Women can expect to live for 79.5 years, compared to 83.1 years in England.