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Rural areas should receive more NHS funding, ‘levelling-up’ report finds

Public health spending also lower in areas of older populations

August 15th 2023

Tagged: Rurality England

By Ailsa Colquhoun

If funding for each service was allocated in line with relative needs, a greater share of NHS funding would be allocated to the most rural areas, and a greater share of local government funding to the most urban areas.

A report on public spending across England also concludes that per capita funding for police and public health are both lower on average in areas with older populations.

However, when looking at areas by population density, this would redistribute funding away from rural (often more affluent) areas for public health, according to the report  by the Institute of Fiscal Studies

The report also found that rural areas with older populations tended to receive higher shares of police funding than they were estimated to need.

The report concludes: “Local government, police and public health funding allocation systems are most in need of reform, especially if the government is serious about tackling geographical inequalities and ‘levelling up’.”

  • According to latest data for England, 9.7 million people are estimated to live in rural areas, an increase of 6 per cent over the past decade. Over a quarter (25.4 per cent) of the rural population are aged 65 years and over.