Government minister claims Brexit dividend that never existed has been re-routed into NHS
The claim suggests the NHS has been receiving £350m per week
The chief secretary to the treasury has falsely claimed that the NHS has been in receipt of an extra £350m per week since the UK left the European Union.
Minister Simon Clarke has said the government re-routed £350m, originally paid to the EU, back into the NHS - despite having no evidence to corroborate his claim.
It is broadly accepted that the UK never paid the EU a net figure of £350m, meaning it would not be possible for the government to redistribute that money back into the health service.
On Monday morning, Sky News journalist Kay Burley presented Clarke with an image of the infamous Brexit double-decker bus, plastered with the promise that leaving the European Union would benefit the NHS with an additional £350m per-week.
Asked why the government needed to raise National Insurance in April, when there was a potential £350m windfall available, government minister Clarke claimed "that money is already in the NHS".
#KayBurley - Instead of raising NI... why don't we use that £350m, a week, that we were promised... that would amount to £18.2b for the NHS... which is £6.2b more than the NI increase?
Simon Clarke - That money is now in the NHS... pic.twitter.com/Kr1Y5jVxd4
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) January 31, 2022
Since its original appearance on Vote Leave's Brexit campaign bus in the lead up to the referendum, the legitimacy of the now-ubiquitous slogan has been widely disputed.
It's understood the figure is closer to £250m - but in any case, the impact on the economy from changes to trade have been larger than any savings from the UK’s membership fee.
In 2017, the UK Statistics Authority described the figure as “a clear misuse of official statistics” that "undermines trust in official statistics while the Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies Paul Johnson, said that the divorce bill and the government’s commitment to replace EU funding “already uses up all of our EU contributions in 2022.”
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