Funding rise of just 1.4% for local council health services labelled ‘inadequate’

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Spending on vital local health services used by millions of Britons, including local contact tracing for coronavirus infections, will rise by just 1.4 per cent from next month, sparking warnings from experts that the money is “inadequate”.

The move comes just weeks after the Chancellor allocated an extra £15billion to the centralised test and trace service.

The budgets include spending on children’s health services, health visitors, sexual health, drug and alcohol abuse schemes as well as spending on local outbreak management, contact tracing and responding to coronavirus.

The increase amounts to just £45million extra for 2021-22 and is equivalent to a 24 per cent cut in real terms to local health budgets since 2015, which have dropped from £4.2billion in 2015-16 to £3.3billion now.

It comes amid concerns over NHS budgets for next month, which are still be approved. Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth has demanded “immediate certainty” be given to hospital bosses.

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