Boris Johnson has “misled” the public and NHS staffers today by pledging £1.8bn of “new money” to improve health services around the country and modernise 20 hospitals, according to the Labour Party.
Johnson paid a visit to a Lincolnshire hospital today, where he confirmed what appeared to be a giveaway of NHS cash – with £850m going to 20 hospitals over five years, mostly in Brexit-backing areas. “I want to stress, this is new money,” the Prime Minister told the BBC, while Health Secretary Matt Hancock described it as “new money from the Treasury”.
But Downing Street has now confirmed that the majority of the supposed funding boost – £1bn of the £1.8bn promised – is not new. This afternoon, Oliver Wright of The Times tweeted: “They’re now trying to work out where the other £800m came from. That may not be new either.”
Jon Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, said: “Boris Johnson has misled the public and our NHS staff. You cannot trust a word he says and his claims are unravelling. It is now clear this is not new money, but funds already earmarked for hospitals which ministers previously blocked.
“With 4.4 million patients waiting for operations and over 20,000 cancer patients waiting longer for treatment it is a disgrace that Johnson is trying to treat people like fools. After years of smash and grab cuts of £4bn to NHS budgets it is now clearer than ever that, as Johnson’s top adviser says, the Tories don’t care about our NHS.”
Speaking to the BBC, Labour’s Jon Ashworth added: “What it is beginning to look like is that money hospitals were promised for cutting their costs and cutting back on their spending, they were promised extra money, and then ministers came along and blocked them from spending this extra money.”