Theresa May tells SNP to spend £2bn on Scottish NHS

The Prime Minister announced the increase in funding, which will see the £114bn-a-year budget rise by an average of over 3% a year for the next five years - still well below the average NHS annual real growth rate during its history - 4% according to the Nuffield Trust.

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.

The chancellor has already promised a spending review in 2019 that is expected to look at loosening the public purse strings to fund the NHS.

It comes after an announcement from Theresa May that the NHS is set to get an extra £20bn a year leading up to that date.

Setting out the plans, Mrs May said: "We can not continue to put a sticking plaster on the NHS budget each year, so we will do more than simply give the NHS a one-off injection of cash".

All eyes will now be on the speech the prime minister is due to deliver this morning, which may also reveal further details on the proposed cash increase as well as the 10-year plan, which reportedly will aim to reduce waste, cut red tape and address variation in services and standards.

She attacked the Cameron government's key health reform - driven through by the former Health Secretary, Lord Lansley - which created clinical commissioning groups to negotiate legal contracts with other parts of the NHS. However, because of United Kingdom spending commitments made during Brexit negotiations, no such "dividend" will exist until at least 2022.

"This long-term plan and historic funding boost is a fitting birthday present for our most loved institution".

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The DUP's Simon Hamilton said the announcement was a "hugely welcome boost for our National Health Service".

And Paul Johnson, director of economic think-tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), said the only way the rise could be paid for was by an increase in taxes.

He said: "This programme of investment and reform was supported by a clear and specific increase in national insurance - unlike the plans announced today which appear to be dependent on mystery tax increases and a mythical Brexit dividend the IFS confirms can not fund the extra spending".

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has also called for the funding to be passed on to NHS Scotland, saying the money "has the potential to make a real difference for people in Scotland".

Ms Robison said the Scottish Government has a "track record of always passing on the health consequentials to the NHS".

In her interview, May - who campaigned against Brexit in 2016 and has been under pressure from hardline Brexiteers ever since to prove her conversion to the cause - drew attention to the fact that her funding announcement exceeded that 350 million pound-per-week figure. "She won't stand up to vested interests and is instead asking patients to rely on a hypothetical Brexit dividend". "As a country, we need to contribute a bit more in a fair and balanced way".

Isn't it nice to have the whole picture?

  • Ismael Montgomery