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17th Jun 2018

NHS to be given £20 billion funding boost

Theresa May has pledged £600 million a week worth of funding for the health service

Oli Dugmore

Theresa May has pledged an extra £20 billion worth of funding for the health service

The NHS will receive the largest cash boost in its history, following a deal to deliver an extra £384 million a week to the crisis-stricken health service.

Theresa May told the BBC that a 10-year spending plan, due to be formally released on Monday, will mean “significantly more money going into the NHS”.

The prime minister announced a £20 billion boost for the NHS, which she says will be funded by the country “contributing a bit more” and the financial benefits of Brexit, despite official government forecasts saying there are none.

The money will allegedly come from what politicians are referring to as a “Brexit dividend,” essentially a reallocating of the £9bn the UK pays into the EU budget. However, because of UK spending commitments made during Brexit negotiations, no such “dividend” will exist until at least 2022.

She told Andrew Marr on Sunday morning: “What we’re doing is saying very clearly as a government that the NHS is our priority. And it’s right, because the NHS matters to people.

“We have looked carefully at what we have put into the NHS to ensure that we deliver world-class healthcare.”

It means the prime minister can claim to have fulfilled the controversial bus-sized promise, made by Brexiteers during the referendum campaign, to increase NHS spending by £350m a week.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, health minister Jeremy Hunt said: “There’s a total understanding across the government that the health and social care systems are interdependent and that to make this settlement work we also need a long-term plan for the social care system as the next step. We know the success of the NHS plan depends on doing the right thing for social care as well.”

Theresa May speaks to Andrew Marr (Credit: BBC)

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “After eight years of Tory cuts and privatisation, the NHS and social care are in crisis.

“Today’s announcement on funding is nowhere near good enough and the Prime Minister has confirmed there is no new money for social care.

“This falls far short of the 4 per cent that experts say the NHS needs, it is just a standstill, and the Tories are refusing to say where the money will come from.

“You can’t trust the Tories with the NHS. Labour will go further.

“Labour is pledging a 5 per cent increase this year and we are being honest with how we will pay for it. We are more than matching what the Tories propose and go higher with a tax on the top 5 per cent of earners and corporations.”

The NHS currently has close to 100,000 vacancies and NHS Trusts are £1 billion in deficit. A&E departments have had their worst performance figures on record this year.