More money for the NHS
The NHS will receive an extra £2billion a year for frontline services, the Chancellor has announced in the Autumn Statement.
A further £1.2billion will be invested in GP services, which will be funded by the fines imposed on banks in the City over the foreign exchange fixing scandal.
George Osborne said that the Coalition government was able to invest in the NHS because of the recovering economy.
“This is not money that busts our plans, but extra money available because we have a plan,” he said. “You cannot have a strong NHS without a strong economy.”
Mr Osborne said the GP services funding was a “down-payment” on the “NHS’s own plan”.
“And instead of returning the foreign exchange fines paid by the banks back to the City, are using that windfall for a £1.2 billion investment in GP services across the UK,” said Mr Osborne.
Health bosses have warned that the NHS is facing a funding shortfall, because increased outgoings are due to outstrip the £100 billion budget it has been allocated from April 2015.
Population growth, the demands of an ageing population, more expensive drugs and higher NHS pension costs have all put growing pressure on NHS resources.
Last month, the Financial Conduct Authority handed out its highest ever fines over the manipulation of the foreign exchange rate. Citibank was fined £226million, HSBC was fined £216million and the Royal Bank of Scotland was hit with a £217million fine.
Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, had previously called for the Treasury to invest the fines in the NHS.
Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, raised questions about the £2billion investment, saying it was money “being recycled from within the Department of Health budget.”
“Given all of these uncertainties there is a real danger that you have led the NHS to believe it is getting more money than you can guarantee,” wrote Mr Burnham in a letter to Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary. “In contrast, Labour’s plan for the NHS is fully funded and will give the NHS £2.5 billion a year over and above the plans left by your Government.”