Labour says ministers' new hospitals pledge 'unravelled as spin' amid confusion over funding
A Government announcement for 40 new hospitals descended into chaos after it emerged ministers have only identified cash for six of them.
The Government said on Sunday that £13bn would be spent on building and modernising dozens of hospitals across the country, in the "biggest hospital building programme in a generation".
A £2.7bn fund was promised for six in the first phase of the project until 2025, while £100m in ‘seed money’ – an initial funding commitment – was detailed to be spent on the further 34 hospitals in five years' time.
But when asked where the rest of the money will come from for the 34 facilities, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday the funds “will come in the future.”
Speaking at the start of the Conservative party conference in Manchester, he said: “So the rest of the money will come in the future…that will also come from the taxpayers.”
Mr Hancock added that none of the money would come from private investment.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the announcement had turned out to be “untrue”, while Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the pledge had been “exposed as spin”.
Mr Ashworth added: “Yet again a Boris Johnson health announcement has quickly unravelled as spin.
“This isn’t 40 new hospitals, it is just reconfiguring six.
“New investment is desperately needed and of course we welcome any genuine new money, but patients and demoralised NHS staff are fed up of being taken for fools like this.
“Is it really too much to ask Boris Johnson to simply tell the truth for a change?”