Theresa May to pledge extra £20bn in major funding boost for NHS

Posted On: 
15th June 2018

Theresa May is set to commit up to an extra £5bn per year to the NHS for the next four years.

Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May
PA Images

The Prime Minister is expected to unveil plans early next week for a 3% to 4% rise in health service funding as part of a "multi-year" settlement to mark its 70th anniversary.

Most of the cash boost is expected to be funded by an increase in taxation and government borrowing.

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Mrs May will also vow the use of a "Brexit dividend" according to the Telegraph, in line with the controversial Leave campaign pledge to spend money saved from ending pay-outs to Brussels on the health service.

The extra funding follows a long line of warnings from senior health figures that the NHS cannot sustain itself without a drastic lift in the cash available to it.

The Sun says the figure offered marks a compromise between the NHS – which demanded 5% – and Chancellor Philip Hammond – who wanted to cap the extra money at 2%.

However the windfall risks sparking tensions with other Cabinet ministers who have pushed for funding increases in their own department.

One Government insider told the paper: “People are going to wonder why the NHS is getting special treatment when money is badly needed in areas like schools and prisons.”

Sources reportedly admitted that the package would mean there was “little left” for other departments and that public sector pay rises may need to be funded through internal cuts rather than from the Treasury.

The figure on offer would chime with NHS chief Simon Stevens’ demands, according to the Telegraph, which says he told a private debate with university students this week that a rise of between 3.5% to 4% was needed for the NHS to cope.

Meanwhile Jeremy Hunt is said to have told an NHS Confederation conference in Manchester yesterday that talks with the Treasury over the size of the settlement were “difficult but ongoing” and that a “transformation” of the sector was needed.

“We have to acknowledge that cuts to the social care system have had a profound impact on the NHS,” he said.