Labour accuses Government of breaking promise to increase real terms NHS spending

Posted On: 
24th November 2017

Labour has accused the Government of breaking its manifesto pledge to increase NHS funding by £8bn in real-terms over the next five years.

Labour has claimed NHS spending will fall slightly and then level out rather than increase
PA Images

Philip Hammond announced in he Budget that the health service will receive an extra £2.8bn over the next three years to help NHS trusts make ends meet.

That means the NHS will receive an extra £3.75bn in total next year, and an additional £7.5bn by 2018/19.

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But according to House of Commons library research, Labour said the promised money will result in real-terms spending falling in 2018-19 and will remain flat in the two subsequent years. 

The calculations revealed spending per head rising from £2,207 in the current financial year, to £2,223 in 2018-19; before falling back to £2,222 for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said: “This new analysis shows that the Tories are breaking their promise to increase in real terms NHS spending on a per-head basis. In fact, NHS spending will fall slightly and then level out.

“The truth is the Tories are refusing to give the NHS the funding it needs, which means patient care will deteriorate, waiting lists rising and more rationing of treatment.”

This year’s Tory manifesto said: “We will increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8bn in real terms over the next five years, delivering an increase in real funding per head of the population for every year of the parliament.”

Yesterday NHS bosses said they have been forced into further difficult decisions on where to prioritise spending because Mr Hammond offered the health service less than half the Budget boost it asked for.

A number of senior health figures, including NHS England chairman, Sir Malcolm Grant warned of a “difficult” funding squeeze to come.

“The extra money the chancellor has found for the NHS is welcome and will go some way towards filling the widely accepted funding gap,” he said.

“However, we can no longer avoid the difficult debate about what it is possible to deliver for patients with the money available.”

Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, said the situation was “worrying”.