Govt confirms boost for NHS
Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed the recent fines on a number of leading banks will be used to fund NHS services.
In the forthcoming Budget, Mr Osborne is set to announce the financial penalties imposed on the banks will partly fund a new package for the NHS.
The chancellor’s Autumn Statement will reveal the money will be spent over a four-year period to help make the health service more efficient and improve patient services.
An improving economy, as well as the banking fines, has meant more funds have been allocated to the NHS as part of the budget.
“It’s because our economy is growing, and we’ve kept a tight control on the finances, that we can do more for the NHS. I can confirm that we will invest an extra £2?billion next year in our front line NHS, across the UK.
“This will support the day-to-day work of our incredible nurses, doctors and other NHS staff. But it is also a down-payment on the future of our health service,” the chancellor explained.
Earlier this month, a number of banks were fined a total of £1.1 billion by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after it was discovered their employees had played a key role in influencing Forex rates.
HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Swiss bank UBS and US banks JP Morgan Chase, Citibank and Bank of America have been collectively fined because of their involvement.
The Serious Fraud Office is also considering whether or not to pursue a number of criminal charges and several traders at the six banks have already been suspended.
It is estimated the foreign exchange market is responsible for trading around $5.3 trillion worth of currencies each day and around 40 per cent of the trading is done via London.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham welcomed the move to use the money to support the country’s healthcare system, but raised concerns it would not be enough to make a real difference to the sections of the NHS that are already struggling with demand – especially in A&E departments across the country.
“Of course, more money will help but it won’t solve the problems that I’ve been describing – the crisis in the NHS is very real indeed. This money will help but will be nowhere near enough,” said Mr Burnham.
In next week’s statement to the Commons, the chancellor is also expected to reveal a £15 billion investment in transport initiatives across the UK, a freeze on petrol duty, the creation of new homes and the introduction of a new law to eliminate the current budget deficit by 2018.