Council asks NHS to help ease cuts pain
NHS bosses are being asked to share the pain of the impact of government cuts to the city’s Public Health funding.
Following a recent decision at a Valuation Tribunal in Sheffield, a change in the way certain medical centres are valued for business rates has seen millions of pounds clawed back by the NHS at the same time that local authorities are seeing a raid on their Public Health budget which funds frontline preventative health services.
The Sheffield Tribunal decision is also expected to see business rate reductions for medical centres of 60% to 70% being backdated to 2010.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council executive member for health and adults, said:
“NHS England will see the benefit of these reductions through reduced rates bills this year and refunds of backdated rates too. In Leeds we estimate we will lose around £6 million of rating income in the current year as a result of this arbitrary change.
“It is ridiculous that a decision taken by a tribunal which we could not influence will effectively shift millions of pounds from local authorities to the NHS just when our Council funded Public Health services in Leeds face government cuts of almost £3 million.”
The council is asking for NHS England to find ways to make sure money comes back to local authorities to help deal with cuts to preventative work which will save the NHS further costs in years to come and help to tackle the city’s health inequalities. In a letter to NHS England’s Director of Commissioning Operations for Yorkshire and Humber, Cllr Mulherin asks for help protecting vital frontline public health services by ring-fencing the ‘windfall’ payments to the NHS resulting from the rates review.
Cllr Mulherin added:
“I want NHS England to work with us to make sure we can continue to deliver vital preventative work for communities across the city which will make a difference to people’s lives for years to come. If this is done in Leeds and elsewhere, it could go some way towards compensating councils for the losses they will experience through the cut in Public Health grants.
"We work closely across Leeds to make sure health and care services are integrated and we make the best use of the funds we have. This is a plea to make sure the council doesn’t see a double cut to the work we deliver.”
Current proposals for distribution of cuts by central government to Public Health funding for Leeds will see over £2.8 million taken from this year’s spending. It has not yet been made clear if this cut will be repeated in 2016/17.