Councillors pledge to reduce life expectancy gap between east and west of Merton
Merton Council is determined to bridge the widening gap between life expectancy in the east and west of the borough, despite receiving a third of public health funding awarded to neighbouring Wandsworth.
Health inequalities in Merton mean a man living in Ravensbury can expect to live nine years less than a man from Wimbledon Park.
A woman living in Figge's Marsh is likely to live 13 years less than a woman from Hillside.
The latest figures show between 2005-09 and 2006-10 the gap remained the same for men, but widened by two years for women.
At a council meeting on Wednesday, April 2, councillors pledged to devote public health funding from central government to bridging that gap.
Councillor Linda Kirby, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: "Bridging that huge life expectancy gap from east to west in Merton is where our focus is.
"The unfairness of Government will definitely affect our ability to close that gap because of the funding we have been awarded.
"The Government determined that Merton should receive a third of the public health funding Wandsworth receives. Now why should that be?
"We’ve all been given the same tasks to perform and we’ll all be assessed on how we do those.
"Once again there is an unfairness in the way that we’re treated generally, determined by the demography of the borough, with Merton’s deprivation score assessed as the fourth lowest in London."
Merton was allocated £8.9m for public health in 2013-14, which will increase to £9.2 million in 2014-15.
Government shifted public health responsibilities from the NHS to local authorities in April 2013, as part of the coalition's Localism Act.
The role of the public health team, lead by Kay Eilbert, director of public health, is to promote public health in all areas of development, from planning and licensing, to education, community and housing.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "The funding a local authority receives is based on its historical spend and targets areas with the greatest need."
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