GOVERNMENT funding promises for the NHS are “so dodgy they belong on the side of a bus,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said today.
He urged PM Theresa May during Prime Minister’s Questions to “be straight” with the public by specifying the taxes she expects would help raise the funds.
Earlier this week, the government announced that it would boost the NHS budget by more than £20 billion a year, which ministers say will also be paid for by more borrowing and a “Brexit dividend” that Mr Corbyn pointed out would not materialise until 2022.
He slammed the “Mickey Mouse” figures as ridiculous, akin to those on the side of the Vote Leave referendum campaign bus, which read: “We send the EU £350 million a week — let’s fund our NHS instead.”
Ms May has suggested there would be £600 million a week more being spent on the NHS as a result of the Brexit dividend.
But Mr Corbyn pointed out that Britain’s net EU contribution is about £8.5 billion a year and yet a dividend of £600 million a week would have required a net contribution to the EU of more than £30 billion a year.
Ms May claimed that the extra funding will be spent in “cash terms” and confirmed that it would be funded by higher taxes included in plans that the Chancellor will detail before his spending review in November.
The PM tried to embarrass Mr Corbyn by claiming that he had said that Labour will “use funds returned from Brussels after Brexit to invest in public services.”
Mr Corbyn thanked her for reading his speeches “so closely” and explained that he would use the Brexit dividend to maintain EU spending in areas such as regional development and agriculture.
He then highlighted a quote from the Tories’ general election manifesto last year that states: “Firms and households cannot plan ahead with the threat of unspecified higher taxes.”
Mr Corbyn noted that Labour would have provided a 5 per cent increase this year, compared to Ms May’s promise of 3.4 per cent, which is just enough to maintain the NHS in its current state rather than improve it.
He said: “The Prime Minister is writing IOUs just to stand still.”
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