Following this week’s National Insurance rise to pay for NHS spending, LBC’s Nick Ferrari asked Health Secretary Sajid Javid. “What happened to the £350 million a week that we benefit for the NHS from Brexit. Is that money factored in as well Secretary of State?”
Javid replied: ‘The extra funding that was promised to the NHS before the pandemic hit, to remind your listeners that was an additional £34 billion a year by 2024, that’s all there.”
Pressed again on whether the funding increase from national insurance came ‘on top of the extra £350 million a week that we get from leaving the EU?’ Javid confirmed ‘That’s right.’
This is not the first time that Javid has claimed that a 350 million a week Brexit dividend has been spent on the NHS.
The original £34 billion increase (£20 billion in real terms) was announced by Theresa May in 2018 before the UK had left the EU.
May’s government claimed that this included a Brexit dividend of 9 billion, half the annualised figure of 18 billion implied by Vote Leave’s original £350 million a week promise, which didn’t account for the UK’s EU funding rebate. May’s figure was itself challenged by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which concluded that ‘rather than from a Brexit dividend the PM’s increase in NHS spending will in fact come from some combination of spending cuts elsewhere, higher taxes and higher borrowing.’
There has never been a £350 million Brexit saving to spend on the NHS. Recent increases have come from other sources, as April’s National Insurance rise underlines. Sajid Javid was misleading LBC listeners.
We approached Sajid Javid’s office and the Department for Health and Social Care to give him a chance to comment, but received no response.