£20bn NHS boost details 'won't be revealed until budget', says Jeremy Hunt

by Noah Mcgee June 20, 2018, 7:46
£20bn NHS boost details 'won't be revealed until budget', says Jeremy Hunt

Prime Minister Theresa May has claimed a "Brexit dividend" will be one of the ways the United Kingdom will pay for flushing more money into the NHS over the next seven years.

The Prime Minister has said the NHS is to be given a "birthday present" of an extra £20 billion a year in funding annually by 2023, and argued technology must be a crucial part of driving productivity improvements over the next decade.

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) director Paul Johnson says the dividend doesn't exist as the United Kingdom faces a steep exit bill, much of the money that would have gone to the European Union has already been promised elsewhere, and the Office for Budget Responsibility has calculated public finances will be £15 billion a year worse off due to Brexit.

Mr Hunt dismissed findings from the Office for Budget Responsibility and Institute for Fiscal Studies that said there would be a net cost, not a dividend, from Brexit. The deal was concluded late on Friday afternoon by May, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England.

"In addition, we know, because the Government has accepted this, that the public finances will be worse as a result of the Brexit vote".

Critics say Britain's NHS is critically under-funded.

Mrs May's claims were rubbished by Sarah Wollaston, an influential Conservative backbencher who chairs the Commons health and social care committee.

She tweeted: "The Brexit dividend tosh was expected but treats the public as fools".

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"Sad to see government slide to populist arguments rather than evidence on such an important issue".

The Foreign Secretary said the UK's weekly gross contribution to the European Union would in fact rise to £438 million by the end of a post-Brexit transition period in 2021, as he continued to pledge the NHS would be "top of the list" when the spare cash became available.

The PM will also recall her own reliance on the NHS for help when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, saying: "I would not be doing the job I am doing today without that support". "This will make it harder to have a rational debate about the "who & how" of funding and sharing this fairly".

"As we approach the 70th anniversary of the NHS, effective innovation and change is needed as well as more money".

He said: "One [of the sources of extra money for the NHS].is the fact that we won't be paying subscriptions to Brussels by the end of this period".

Speaking at the Royal Free Hospital in north London, Mrs May also repeated her claim that a "Brexit dividend" would help foot the bill.

He also insisted the government was able to announce the funding injection not only due to the "Brexit dividend", but also a "deficit reduction dividend" and a "jobs dividend".

Other suggestions for where the money might come from include changes to taxation-either freezing tax thresholds or increasing taxes in order to raise the money-and from increasing borrowing.

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