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Investment for local authorities to combat health inequalities

The Department for Health and Social Care has confirmed that it is investing in ‘turbo-charging’ research into how health inequalities are affecting local authorities.

£50 million worth of funding is set to be awarded to local authorities around the country to improve health outcomes. The funding will be overseen by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, and will enable 13 different authorities to set up Health Determinants Research Collaborations between academics and experts.

The 13 local authorities that will benefit from the funding are:

  • Tower Hamlets Council
  • Newcastle City Council
  • Doncaster Council
  • Aberdeen Council
  • City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  • Plymouth City Council
  • Gateshead Council
  • Blackpool Council
  • Coventry City Council
  • Middlesbrough Council and Redcar & Cleveland Council
  • The London Borough of Lambeth
  • Medway Council
  • Islington Council

The funding is intended to enable high quality research into the challenges being faced locally that affect people’s health. This could be facilitation research to understand and introduce interventions in childhood obesity, Covid-19 recovery, mental wellbeing or drug use.

Robert Jenrick, Minister of State for Health, said:

“The pandemic shone a light on the stark health inequalities that exist across the country – we are committed to levelling up the health of the nation.

“This funding will drive progress to address health challenges locally, particularly in the places and communities most affected by ill health such as high levels of obesity, drug use and poor mental health.

“Everyone should be able to live long, health lives regardless of their background and where they live, and this new research will help us deliver on our ambition.”

Professor Jim McManus, President of the UK Association of Directors of Public Health, said:

“We know that health inequalities are one of the major barriers facing communities the length and breadth of the country, especially for disadvantaged group and areas.

“HDRCs will help drive the research culture within local government.”

This is the first time that local authorities have been given funding for leading research into health disparities, as well as being a large part of the government’s commitment to levelling up through innovative new projects within communities.

This project is also aiming to help with the stimulation of economic growth in some of the most deprived areas of the country, due to job creation within the research and the identification of solutions to solve some of the key challenges being faced by society, such as obesity and poor mental wellbeing.

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