This paper examines some of the issues that arise when seeking to tackle health inequalities in a context of limited health care resources. Increasingly, central agencies are using devolved budgets for health care providers as a central instrument of expenditure control. Equity objectives play an important role in the resource allocation methods used to determine such budgets. Yet, unless integrated into a proper system of risk management, the use of budgets can lead to serious inequity. The paper discusses the potential contributions of different disciplines to promoting equity within a health care budgetary regime.