Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Hunt: Brexit dividend 'nothing like enough' to fund £20bn NHS boost

Hunt: Brexit dividend 'nothing like enough' to fund £20bn NHS boost

"We can not continue to put a sticking plaster on the NHS budget each year", 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.

And praising Mrs May, she said: "The Prime Minister today could not have been clearer, that the NHS is her number one spending priority, that's why there is this cash injection".

After the worst winter on record for the NHS, the much-loved institution is in dire need of fresh funds but a decade of severe spending restraint means the extra cash will nearly certainly have to be generated by increasing taxes, something the Conservatives have traditionally been reluctant to do, though opposition to the idea appears to be softening. Critics say taxes and borrowing will have to rise in order to deliver the pledge, but no detail on how it will be paid for is expected before November's budget.

Speaking in a BBC interview, Mrs May did not elaborate on how the £20bn a year would be funded but told Andrew Marr: "As a country we will be contributing more, a bit more, but also we will have that sum of money that is available from the European Union".

Going on to say: "Actually, I'm announcing means that in 2023/24, there will be around £600 million a week in cash more, going into the NHS".

Mrs May is using her speech in London to say the NHS has a special place in British life, stating: "I will never forget visiting the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena attack".

It has been hoped that there was set to be increased funding for the health service to help mark its 70th birthday, this year. There isn't any extra guaranteed money available as a result of ending our payments to the European Union budget, because those savings are likely to be more than offset by other costs associated with Brexit.

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"We remain deeply concerned about the impact of Brexit on the NHS and need a commitment that any post-Brexit trade deals the United Kingdom enters into must not open up our NHS to privatisation or endanger public health initiatives - that simply can not and must not be allowed to happen".

In fact, hundreds of doctors and nurses have signed an open letter to May and her Cabinet arguing the funding increase is not enough.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has also called for the funding to be passed on to NHS Scotland, saying the money "has the potential to make a real difference for people in Scotland".

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.

The premier said that by the financial year 2023-2024, an extra £20 billion ($26.5 billion, 23 billion euros) a year would be going into the NHS.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We need to have confidence in what's being said".

"We have looked carefully at what we have put into the NHS to ensure that we deliver world-class healthcare". We certainly haven't seen that.

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