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Claims by Theresa May that a co-called ‘Brexit dividend’ will help pay for a boost to NHS spending in England worth £20 billion a year within five years are highly disingenuous.
In this regards, the Tory chair of the health committee, Sarah Wollaston MP, is absolutely right in calling this claim ‘tosh’.
The UK will continue to pay into the EU through the transition until the end of 2020, and will pay £20 billion of the ‘divorce bill’ through to 2028.
In addition, the UK Government has committed to keep EU funding for agricultural subsidies, research and development and other key areas at the same level in the short term.
These are set figures so it will be at least 10 years before any so-called ‘Brexit dividend’, if it were ever to materialise, is to be realised.
Add to that, if the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts are accurate, the public finances are set to be £15 billion a year worse off by 2021, equivalent to £300 million a week.
Ms May must come clean over whether she intends to finance this increased spend through increased taxes, increased borrowing, or a combination of the two.
Interestingly, if taxes are set to rise, which they will clearly have to, it is staggering hypocrisy for the Tories to have attacked the Scottish Government’s boosting of the NHS in Scotland through progressive tax changes, and then look to hike taxes themselves.