May confirms NHS boost will come from tax rises

Taxpayers will have to stump up more cash in order to meet the government's planned £20bn extra cash for the NHS, Theresa May admitted today.

In a major speech given in a north London hospital, the Prime Minister said it was important to "do more than simply give the NHS a one-off injection of cash", outlining her plan for funding to grow 3.4 per cent in real terms on average every year until 2023/24.

That is equivalent to £394m a week more than the health service receives currently – and more than the £350m promised on Vote Leave's battle bus.

May said: "Some of the extra funding I am promising today will come from using the money we will no longer spend on our annual membership subscription to the European Union after we have left.

"But the commitment I am making goes beyond that Brexit dividend because the scale of our ambition for our NHS is greater still. So, across the nation, taxpayers will have to contribute a bit more in a fair and balanced way to support the NHS we all use."

The Prime Minister committed to listening to "views about how we do this", adding that chancellor Philip Hammond would "set out the detail in due course".

"We should be clear that we are only able to make this funding offer because we have managed the public finances responsibly," May added.

During a slightly tense question-and-answer session, she continued to insist the "vast" Brexit dividend – which was yesterday rubbished by economists at the Institute for Fiscal Studies – would factor into the total additional spend.

But she added: "I said as a country we will need to contribute a bit more. Taxpayers will need to contribute a bit more. But we will do that in a fair and balanced way. And we want to listen to people about who we do that."

Earlier in the day, health secretary Jeremy Hunt had admitted as much, saying the Brexit dividend "won't be anything like enough" the amount needed.

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