Osborne to pledge £2bn NHS lifeline

Published: Sunday 30th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Chancellor George Osborne is set to announce a £2 billion lifeline to bolster frontline services in the cash-strapped NHS.

Mr Osborne will use his setpiece Autumn Statement on Wednesday to lay out plans to boost spending on NHS services across the UK next year.

In what is expected to be a highly political statement, he will tell MPs the cash injection is possible because the economy is growing and that under his stewardship the Government has brought the public finances under control.

He will say the money will be used to buy new services and facilities that will help transform the NHS making it more efficient for taxpayers and more effective for patients.

At the same time it will help the NHS to prepare to meet the challenges of an ageing population with people living longer.

Mr Osborne is expected to say: “Here’s a simple truth: you can’t have a strong NHS without a strong economy to pay for it. If you don’t have a long term plan for the economy, you don’t have a plan for the future of the NHS.

“We have both. It’s because our economy is growing, and we’ve kept a tight control on the finances, that we can do more for the NHS. I can confirm that we will invest an extra £2 billion next year in our frontline NHS, across the UK.

“This will support the day-to-day work of our incredible nurses, doctors and other NHS staff; but it is also a down-payment on the future of our health service.”

The announcement follows the publication of the five-year “Forward View” plan drawn up by the NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens which warned of a looming £8 billion funding shortfall by the end of the next parliament.

In his statement Mr Osborne is expected to endorse the Stevens proposals as the best way to deliver “a world class and universal NHS that is sustainable for the long term.”

For Labour, shadow treasury chief secretary Chris Leslie said no announcements by Mr Osborne could disguise the fact that he had failed to meet his commitment to clear the deficit in the public finances and balance the books.

“This week George Osborne will have to admit that he has broken his promises,” he said.

“He has failed to deliver rising living standards and that failure is why he’s also set to break his promise to balance the books by next year.

“Nobody wants to hear out of touch claims from ministers that the economy is fixed when working people are £1,600 a year worse off under the Tories.

“Instead we need to see big changes to our economy so that we can deliver a recovery for the many and not just a few.”

Published: Sunday 30th November 2014 by The News Editor

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