Shadow Health Secretary: NHS Cash Boost "Not Enough Money"

Boris Johnson on the Brexit campaign trail in front of the Vote Leave battlebus

Boris Johnson on the Brexit campaign trail in front of the Vote Leave battlebus

British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged on Sunday (Jun 17) to increase funding for the National Health Service (NHS) by 20 billion pounds (US$26.57 billion) after Brexit, partly from tax hikes and partly from money that will no longer be going to the European Union. But instead of acclaiming her as the NHS savior, critics noticed she lacks the money to pay for the new outlays.

Mrs May said the money, which would not be used for social care, would amount to an increase of 3.4%, and said the country would also have to "contribute a bit more" to health service funding.

"Labour is pledging a 5 per cent increase this year and we are being honest with how we will pay for it". The chancellor has already promised a spending review in 2019 that is expected to look at loosening the public purse strings to fund the NHS.

"But that alone won't be anything like enough, so there will also be more resourcing through the taxation system, and also through economic growth".

Analysis by the Resolution Foundation think tank found that freezing the personal tax allowance, higher rate threshold and personal National Insurance threshold might raise around £4 billion. Any departure that involves tax increases could upset core voters and open it up to criticism from the opposition Labour Party. Yet the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) predicts that Brexit will cost the economy a net of £15bn per year.

This multi-year settlement provides the funding we need to shape a long-term plan for key improvements in cancer, mental health and other critical services.

The IFS has also outlined a number of other ideas for raising money, such as charging for NHS services and selling off buildings and land owned by the NHS as recommended in the Naylor Review.

He added: "These will still be tough years ahead".

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'We will be able to explain exactly where every penny is coming from but we will do that in the Budget, ' said Mr Hunt.

What does this mean for social care and public health funding?

Mrs May is under fire for claiming that a spending boost worth around £20bn extra per year by 2024 will be part-paid for by a "Brexit dividend", despite economists saying that leaving the European Union will have a significant negative impact on the public finances. However, that's still less than the 3.7 percent average rise the NHS has had since 1948.

The plan will build on the five-year strategy Mr Stevens set out in 2015. This is unsustainable and we call on the Prime Minister to specifically address this in the detail of her plans, ' she said.

The Times report on Monday that the PM is facing a £25bn "black hole" in her plans to fund the NHS after ministers were unable to reach an agreement on where all the resources would be coming from, before May's announcement.

Councillor Izzi Seecombe, of the Local Government Association, said: "Without essential council services, which help people live healthy lives in their own homes and communities, the NHS can not thrive". We do know - the Treasury has done its sums, it hasn't made its final decisions but it is very clear this can be affordable.

She said technology was "transforming how we engage with the NHS" and it can "improve the way care is delivered".

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