Questions posed by Theresa May's pledge — NHS Brexit dividend

Henrietta Strickland
June 19, 2018

Financial analysis by the Health Foundation and Institute for Fiscal Studies, published last month, suggested the NHS needed at least 3% annual increases not to deteriorate, but 4% in order to be able to put into action NHS England's ambitious transformation plans.

It follows Mrs May's announcement that the NHS budget would rise by 3.4% a year on average over the next five years.

"But the commitment I am making goes beyond that Brexit dividend because the scale of our ambition for our NHS is greater still". However, she is yet to flesh out her policy with details.

"It must expand the boundaries of what the NHS can do in the future in the fastest, safest and most ambitious way possible".

"As a country we will be contributing a bit more".

During the 2016 referendum campaign on European Union membership, the pro-Brexit camp claimed that Britain was sending 350 million pounds a week to the European Union and should spend that money on the NHS instead.

The PM will fill in some of the details on her proposed 10-year plan, which she will say must ensure "every penny is well spent".

Ahead of her speech, Mrs May was lambasted by Tory and Labour MPs for claiming some of the extra funding will come from Britain's strong economic performance outside the EU. "As a pure, sort of arithmetic point of view, over this period, there's no money".

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

"That's not just me that's saying that, but we've had the health committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston calling it tosh and criticising the UK Government for treating the public like fools and of course we've had the Institute for Fiscal Studies saying there's no Brexit dividend".

Johnson, who was visiting Geneva to address the U.N. Human Rights Council, dismissed the idea that many people thought relying on a "Brexit dividend" was nonsense.

"The Brexit dividend tosh was expected but treats the public as fools", she tweeted.

"Sad to see government slide to populist arguments rather than evidence on such an important issue. This will make it harder to have a rational debate about the "who & how" of funding and sharing this fairly". They said they wanted their money to be spent, not on subscriptions to European Union membership, but on our vital public services like 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".

However, while it is not contested that the United Kingdom would stop sending billions to Brussels each year after a clean Brexit, the full picture is more complicated.

But she added: 'It is essential that as more details of her long-term plan are announced, general practice is recognised for the vital role it plays in delivering safe, effective patient care in the community, and keeping the entire NHS sustainable'.

How much will a Brexit dividend contribute?

In comparison, he said Labour's "absolutely necessary" investment in the NHS under his leadership was funded by clear reforms to national insurance.

He said: "This programme of investment and reform was supported by a clear and specific increase in national insurance - unlike the plans announced today which appear to be dependent on mystery tax increases and a mythical Brexit dividend the IFS confirms can not fund the extra spending".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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