Britain's May to pledge 20-bln-pound health service cash boost

Theresa May

Theresa May

But instead of acclaiming her as the NHS savior, critics noticed she lacks the money to pay for the new outlays.

This is less than the 3.7 per cent annual increase the health service has enjoyed for most of its 70 years - and nowhere near enough to fix years of underfunding from the Conservative Government.

May is under pressure to explain how the government intends to pay for increased NHS spending.

Sunday's announcement was also tailored to send a positive message to the 48 percent of Britons who voted in 2016 to remain in the European Union - many of whom are still unconvinced about Brexit as the March 29, 2019 exit date approaches.

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After the worst winter on record for the NHS, the much-loved institution is in dire need of fresh funds but a decade of severe spending restraint means the extra cash will nearly certainly have to be generated by increasing taxes, something the Conservatives have traditionally been reluctant to do, though opposition to the idea appears to be softening.

But the Sky Data poll found 47% of people do not think there will be "Brexit dividend", compared to 34% who did.

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr show on Sunday, Mrs May said the money Britain now pays into the European Union could be used for the NHS in the future.

In 2002, then Chancellor Gordon Brown announced a 1 percent hike in national insurance contributions, a payroll levy, to help finance a 6.1 billion-pound increase in health spending and it was a popular policy.

It also comes as Mr Hunt last week said lasy week that the promised long-term funding plan for the NHS must have earmarked funding for boosting primary care capacity.

It is expected that taxes will be increased to create the extra revenue and, in real terms, will be closer to 3% rather than the asked-for 4% called for by Stevens.

Other suggestions for where the money might come from include changes to taxation-either freezing tax thresholds or increasing taxes in order to raise the money-and from increasing borrowing. Without tax increases, Hammond would nearly certainly be forced to abandon his plans to erase the budget deficit by the middle of the next decade.

Theresa May and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt at the Royal Free Hospital.

"People are waiting longer and in pain because of Tory cuts to the NHS", he said.

"We will listen to views about how we do this and the chancellor [Philip Hammond] will set out the detail in due to course".

In response to the announcement of £20 billion for the NHS over the next five years the Chair of the Health Select Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, said that while she welcomed the announcement it would "not deliver as planned without attention to and uplifts for public health (prevention), social care, workforce training & capital/transformation budgets".

"The important point is that you can only afford to fund the NHS well if you have a strong vibrant and dynamic economy where the government is focused on enterprise and growth, so that's why I think we're able to do it", he told reporters.

She said technology was "transforming how we engage with the NHS" and it can "improve the way care is delivered".

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