Merton public health grant questioned

 Merton’s public health grant of £7.4m has been questioned by Councillor Suzanne Evans after it fell way below the London average.

Residents in the borough have been allocated the equivalent of £34 per person per year by the DH – £26 less than the average in the capital – despite a 5% increase on its 2010/11 budget.

Councillor Evans (pictured) says residents have been “short-changed” and called for a review of the budget.

The DH based the estimated spending allocation on the outgoings of NHS Sutton and Merton PCT in 2012/13.

However, Councillor Evans says the spending at the PCT has been “ridiculously low” on public health after a “long history of outrageous financial mismanagement” at the Trust.

Only six other London boroughs are estimated to receive less than Merton. Across the border at Wandsworth Council, residents will receive the equivalent of £76 per person.

Val Day, Interim Director of Public Health at the PCT, welcomed any increase in the public health budget. She said an increase would “provide new opportunities for the council going forward” and “to address the health and wellbeing” of residents.

A spokesperson for the DH said it was “premature” to discuss estimated budgets, which are yet to be finalised.