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NHS reforms 'won't hit poor areas'

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has rejected Labour's claims that deprived areas in England will lose out to affluent parts of the country under health spending reforms.

Labour claimed changes to funding formulas means poor health rates will be given less consideration when cash is allocated.

It suggested areas like Manchester and the London borough of Tower Hamlets would lose out to parts of the wealthy south east, such as Surrey and Hampshire.

Labour based the claims on an assessment of funding reforms by public health bodies in Manchester.

But Mr Lansley said there was no proof that Primary Care Trusts had spent more on tackling poor health in deprived areas under Labour.

He also rejected Labour's claims telling the BBC: "We are not taking money away from any part of England. We are increasing the budget for the health service and not just overall in real terms, but increasing it in each PCT of the country.

"The average increase in each PCT is 3% compared to the provision the previous year. The minimum increase is 2.5%."

Department of Health officials said primary care budgets in Surrey and Tower Hamlets would go up by a similar amount this year.

Labour's Deputy Leader Harriet Harman stood by Labour's claims.

She told BBC1's Andrew Marr show: "Three things are happening. Firstly they're cutting the amount of money that's going to the National Health Service overall for the first time. Secondly, they're shifting resources away from the poor areas, which are more needy in health terms. And thirdly they're wasting money on reorganisation, so they're spending more money on administration."


From Belfast Telegraph