Further fears for under-fire Northamptonshire County Council as millions of pounds worth of health spending is called into question

Northamptonshire County Council leader Heather Smith told the BBC ring-fenced monies given by Public Health England may have been used in adult social care.
Northamptonshire County Council leader Heather Smith told the BBC ring-fenced monies given by Public Health England may have been used in adult social care.

Millions of pounds worth of funding handed to Northamptonshire County Council may not have been used for its intended purpose.

Public Health England, the national organisation designed to promote healthier lifestyles across the country, gave £70 million worth of funding to the council over a two-year period, according to reports by the BBC this morning.

The funds were supposed to be ring-fenced for healthy living programmes such as smoking cessation services, but council leader Councillor Heather Smith told the BBC that some of the funding may have been used to prop up adult social services.

Public Health England has confirmed it is now holding "discussions" with the council about how that money was used but would not comment on exact figures.

A spokeswoman for the public body said it was too early to discuss the sorts of sanctions the county council could face for spending the money inappropriately.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Northamptonshire County Council’s recently appointed new Director of Public Health is in discussion with Public Health England about the Statement of Assurance for the years 2015-16 and 2016-17.

“These discussions are around how public health grant was used within public services in Northamptonshire during these years.

“We cannot provide any further details while these discussions are on-going.”