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01.10.18

NHS faces £2.7bn cuts after government pension slip-up

The NHS will suffer £2.7bn in new cuts after the government miscalculated the pension costs of public sector workers, a new analysis from the House of Commons library has shown.

The government has offered to cover the NHS’s additional costs up until 2020, but the final two years of additional pension costs totalling £2.7bn until the next election will have to be covered by the public service.

This could have paid for the salaries of a total of 61,912 nurses, said the Labour Party, who released the research.

They say the government could have miscalculated pension costs for all public sector workers by as much as £4bn a year.

Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the treasury, Peter Dowd, said: “Billions of pounds are being quietly cut from our NHS due to a poisonous cocktail of disastrous economic mismanagement and spiteful behaviour.”

“These cuts are the equivalent of paying the salary of over 61,000 nurses a year. Nurses whom we desperately need after 8 years of crushing austerity in our NHS.” 

Labour say the initial announcement was snuck out in a statement late last Thursday with no parliamentary scrutiny.

The Conservatives’ annual party conference is currently underway in Birmingham, and will publish its next budget on 29 October.

Dowd added: “The Chancellor must immediately own up and commit to meeting these extra costs, not just push them on to slashed and struggling public services.”

“All this just goes to show, you cannot trust the Tories with our NHS.”

This comes after the government pledged more than £145m for emergency care and 900 extra beds ahead of the winter earlier this month.

But experts have been critical, saying the funding won’t be nearly enough, especially if the UK is faced with the “extremely challenging conditions”.

General and acute bed occupancy was at a whopping 94.4% with an average of 20 trusts having over 99% occupancy each day.

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