Health budget increase less than promised, MPs say

The Health Select Committee has accused ministers of giving the wrong impression about how much they are spending on healthcare in England.

The news comes after the government announced it would spend an extra £8.4 billion on the NHS, on top of inflation, in its Budget last year. However, the Health Select Committee said a different definition of spending was used in order to give the idea of more funding. The report claimed the actual figure was closer to £4.5 billion.

The Health Select Committee said MPs had highlighted the amount going to the frontline via NHS England, rather than focusing on the whole health budget. It explained that the £101 billion figure did not account for the £15 million which had been put aside for other aspects such as training and public health.

The Committee noted that this figure would be cut once inflation is taken into account, meaning the total health budget rises from £116 billion to £120 billion, by the end of parliament.

Committee chair Dr Sara Wollaston added: "Whilst the NHS has been treated favourably compared to many other departments, the increase in health funding is less than was promised if assessed by usual definitions."

The Department of Health said it rejected the committee’s findings and that ministers stood by their figures.