Labour has dismissed George Osborne’s announcement as ‘spin’ after it has emerged that £750m of extra funding is recycled health department cash. With £750m of the £2bn coming from within the Department of Health has led to dismay amongst officials.
The extra funding was announced before the chancellor’s autumn statement and received a warm welcome from health experts. Labour promised to match the extra funding and top it up with £2.5bn annually for the NHS from its planned ‘Time to Care’ fund.
Tories argued that the £2bn headline ‘extra funding’ headline was justified because there would also be £1.1bn spent on modernising and improving GP surgeries over the next four years, as well as improving chemotherapy and dialysis and other life-saving services. This is in line with the NHS five-year plan. The additional £1.1bn comes from fines imposed on banks following the Libor rate-rigging scandal.
On Monday Labour’s leader, Ed Milliband, will argue that because income tax receipts and national insurance receipts have been lower than expected over this parliament, and welfare spending has been higher, Osborne’s “failure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis” has cost the Treasury £116.5bn. The party will say that the loss is the equivalent of almost £4,000 for every taxpayer.
This implies Osborne’s announcement of bonus funding is the direct result of attempting to neutralise the approaching situation.