Magazine article Public Finance

Post-Recession Cuts in NHS Spending Are 'Inconceivable'

Magazine article Public Finance

Post-Recession Cuts in NHS Spending Are 'Inconceivable'

Article excerpt

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has told MPs it is 'inconceivable' th at the NHS will face real-terms spending cuts from 2011, when th e government aims to restore th e public finances after the recession.

The Commons health select committee questioned Johnson about the impact of future restraint on public spending. It enquired how the £37bn cut in public spending growth from 2011/12, predicted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, would hit the health servicie.

Johnson said there was 'no departmental breakdown' of how the reduction in planned spending growth to 1.1% a year set out in the Pie-Budget Report would be implemented.

But it would be completely irresponsible' for NHS managers to anticipate a continuation of 'the spending growth we've been used to1, he told MPs at the March 1 1 hearing.

Health spending had risen from £426 per head of population in 1997 to £1,612 for next year, Johnson argued. All that is locked in', he said.

'We start from the best platform that health has ever had in its 61-year history. …

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