NHS spending

NHS budgets tighter than during austerity under new manifestos, says think tank

A think tank has said that the Conservative and Labour general election manifestos would constitute a lower level of NHS spending than during the austerity period between 2010 and 2015.

The Nuffield Trust says that all three manifestos from the three main political parties would lead to the tightest period of funding in the health service’s 76-year history.

The analysis of each of the manifestos is cast against a basis that all the parties increase spending in England by an average of 0.8% in real terms every year — this is due to the absence of detail from any of the organisations on costings. Researchers have also added their ‘extra’ commitments on top.

According to Nuffield Trust estimations, the manifestos imply annual increases between 2024/25 and 2028/29 of:

  • 0.9% for Conservative
  • 1.1% for Labour
  • 1.5% for Liberal Democrat
Thea Stein comment

“This would mark an unprecedented slowdown in NHS finances, and it is inconceivable that it would accompany the dramatic recovery all are promising,” said the Nuffield Trust CEO, Thea Stein, on the Labour Party’s plan.

She added: “There is no detail on a broader funding settlement for an NHS already struggling to make ends meet, and no longer-term funding plans specified.”

None of the manifestos — from Conservative to Labour and Lib Dem — are credible when it comes to NHS spending plans, according to Stein.

The funding required for the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan is £198.3bn by 2028/29, says the Nuffield Trust. Lib Dem plans would see funding grow to £178.8bn; Labour’s would see budgets rise to £175.6b; and the Conservative plan would put the figure at £174.8bn.

Image credit: iStock

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