Today’s headline in The Sunday Times is just deferring the honest debate that Mr Stevens has been asking for and trying to make everyone think something is being done…. until after the election if our politicians (of all parties) have their way… The NHS confederation says “NHS net expenditure (resource plus capital, minus depreciation) has increased from £64.173 billion in 2003/04 to £109.721bn in 2013/14. Planned expenditure for 2013/14 is £113.035bn.” But it is a 1.1% boost… for England.. Will it apply to the other Regions, and will they spend it wisely in their smaller mutuals?
George Osborne will this week try to protect the government from the political damage of an NHS crisis by promising an extra £2 billion a year for the health service.
The increase, which is to be part-funded through fines levied on banks found guilty of manipulating foreign exchanges, falls well short of the £30 billion hole that health chiefs say will become clear in NHS finances by the end of the next parliament.
The Tory NHS funding boost is among a package of spending to be announced this week as Mr Osborne tries to woo voters in advance of the May general election, in which the health service will be a key battleground.
NHS bosses have warned that increasing demand and flat-lining budgets have left the service at breaking point.
Confirming the annual funding boost, the chancellor said that the country could afford to pay into the health service as the UK economy recovers….
…Not all the Chancellor’s £2 bn NHS commitment is new money. Sources told the BBC that £0.7bn would be diverted from other parts of the health budget to the NHS frontline, and only £1.3bn was new spending.
An additional £1.1bn to upgrade GP surgeries, spread over four years, would come from bank fines.
Mr Osborne’s pledge of extra cash does nonetheless increase pressure on Ed Miliband over Labour’s mansion tax, which the party says is needed to fund NHS spending.
Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, promised that Labour would keep the mansion tax, and spend the £1.2 billion that it was projected to raise on increases to health spending over and above the coalition’s plan.
He accused the Chancellor of making “unfunded commitments”, warning that the deficit remained huge and that Mr Osborne had not clearly explained how he would find the money to fund his pledges.
“The Tories are really putting the NHS in danger,”Mr Balls told the Marr show. “We need a long-term plan. We have a winter crisis because the Tories have mismanaged and privatised and caused chaos in the NHS.”
Labour’s questions about whether the figures could be justified followed claims by economists that Mr Osborne had failed to meet his planned spending cuts and would have to slash budgets to meet austerity targets in the next parliament.
“Things haven’t gone as well as hoped since March,” Paul Johnson, of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), told the Sunday Politics programme on BBC One.
“The consequence will be that by 2018 we are looking at spending cuts of one-third in a whole slew of public services – local government, police, justice, police environment – all of these things.”
Mr Osborne is preparing to announce another spending boost for major road improvements in the government’s infrastructure plan, which will be unveiled tomorrow, ahead of the autumn statement on Wednesday.
“You are going to see major improvements on key roads, to the south-west of England, through Norfolk, up through Northumbria. So we are investing in our economic infrastructure, we are backing our businesses,” he said.
The government is also set to pledge tax cuts worth £7 billion through an increase in the untaxed personal allowance if the Tories are re-elected.
Mr Osborne said that the government would squeeze the welfare budget once again to raise cash for his pledges as it faces up to “tough decisions”. He had already pledged to introduce £12 billion worth of extra welfare cuts after the election to help to reduce the deficit.
“I think we should be making savings in welfare to spend money on economic infrastructure like roads and to sharpen work incentives, giving support to our working taxpayers by increasing tax-free allowances,” he said.
The IFS last week said that the chancellor had achieved only one tenth of the welfare cuts planned because increases in pensions, housing and disability benefits almost cancelled out the cuts.
NHSreality’ view of the future as there is less and less to balance with: