Magazine article Public Finance

Ring-Fence 'Is Right for Public Health'

Magazine article Public Finance

Ring-Fence 'Is Right for Public Health'

Article excerpt

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has defended his decision to ring-fence council public health budgets, denying that the move is at odds with a wider government drive to remove local finance restrictions.

Speaking to Public Finance, Lansley claimed the Department of Health had 'entirely embraced' the removal of local government ring-fences. He cited the decision in the Comprehensive Spending Review to roll a £2.4bn grant for social care into the general formula grant

But he said it had been agreed 'across government from the outset' that public health budgets, to be handed over to local government from the NHS from 2013, would be ring-fenced. This was because it was a new pot purely 'for the purpose of securing health improvement', not because Whitehall did not trust councils to spend the money on its desired cause.

He added that the ring-fence would operate differently from previous ones. …

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