Thank you for contacting me about how to fund the NHS in the future.
How to fund the NHS in the long-term is one of the most pressing and potent political issues facing the country. Demand for the NHS only continues to rise as a result of our ageing population and increased immigration. On top of this there are a growing number of widespread chronic conditions which will be increasingly expensive and challenging to address, without a credible and effective plan to fund the NHS and social care.
As I am sure you are aware, the Prime Minister recently announced the Government's intention to provide the NHS with an additional £20.5 billion by 2023/24. This is no doubt a welcome announcement and I welcome this increased spending on the NHS, but I am concerned about what this, and the Prime Minister's commitment to end austerity, will mean for the public finances in the long term. In general I am in favour of continuing with austerity so long as we are getting it right, because I do not think that we can continue to keep borrowing and burdening the unborn generations with that debt. Why should our great grandchildren pay for services we are receiving now: this is what borrowing on this scale really means.
The details of how this £20.5 billion of funding for the NHS will be provided will soon be unveiled by the Chancellor. Ultimately, governments raise money through increased borrowing or increased taxation. I understand that ministers are working to provide a solution which provides the NHS with the investment it needs, but I do not support an increase in taxes or borrowing at this time. Instead, I think that the best option is to continue with careful management of the public finances.
I am most definitely a supporter of the NHS. However, I think that the NHS needs to improve its productivity and efficiency because we cannot continue to simply pump money into it, which actually disincentivises efficiency. Overall, the Government needs to find ways to spend public money more sensibly in order to reduce spending and debt, and that includes spending on the NHS. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that the UK's revenue from tax receipts will increase substantially as a result of the growth and prosperity that Brexit will bring.