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Friday, 3 April 2015

SNP plan gives extra £9.5 billion in NHS investment

SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon will today set out how the SNP’s anti-austerity plan would see an additional £9.5bn funding boost for the NHS across the UK. They say this is in comparison to both Labour and the Tories who are both committed to a further £30bn of austerity cuts. 

The additional funding would see Scotland’s health budget rise by a total of £2bn by 2020.Campaigning in Edinburgh today, Nicola Sturgeon will set out how a strong team of SNP MPs will not only put an end to austerity and ensure modest increases in investment in public services.

The SNP say they will also take a stand against the privatisation of England’s NHS, which has knock-on effects for Scotland’s budget. The NHS in England has identified a substantial funding gap in 2020/21 and the IFS has projected that 0.8 per cent real terms increase in each year of the next parliament to fill the gap. The IFS projects that if current Tory and Labour austerity plans continue and additional funding isn’t provided such an increase would require other departmental budgets to be slashed by over six per cent to fill the gap.

The First Minister has already made clear that SNP MPs elected in May will vote for a Bill at Westminster to restore England’s NHS and to protect it from the privatisation agenda started by the last Labour government and carried on by the Tories.

Commenting, on the SNP plan Nicola Sturgeon said: "Westminster’s NHS privatisation and cuts agenda puts the health service in England at risk – and threatens to harm Scotland’s budget on which our health service depends. This is exactly why a strong team of SNP MPs will vote not only to end austerity – but to restore England’s NHS. Such a vote would be good for England by giving people their health service back - and also represent enlightened self-interest for Scotland, by protecting the Scottish budget from the cuts which English privatisation is undoubtedly paving the way for.

Ms Sturgeon continued by saying: "Any claims from the Westminster parties that they will protect the NHS are entirely worthless given their shared commitment to austerity. The IFS has made clear that filling the NHS funding gap in England without additional spending would mean even deeper cuts to other departments. If a strong team of SNP MPs can deliver an additional £9.5bn for health spending across the UK, on top of the real terms increases we already plan then Scotland’s health budget will increase by around £2bn by 2020. Scotland’s budget is already under real pressure from existing Westminster cuts – but the SNP has done everything in our power to protect the health service - with patient satisfaction in Scotland above that of the rest of the UK, staff numbers standing at a record high and a further £409m investment in the NHS this year."

"But with both the Tories and Labour signed up to George Osborne’s plans for a further £30bn of austerity cuts there are more challenges on the way – which is exactly why we have set out a clear alternative to Westminster’s mindless commitment to cuts. With sensible, modest increases in public spending we can protect and improve public services like the NHS – and give people the real alternative they are crying out for. The choice in this election is absolutely clear, between the Westminster parties and their shared commitment to the austerity cuts which are putting real pressure on our public services – or the SNP’s sensible plans for a modest increase in public spending to ensure our hard-working NHS staff are supported and that patients continue to benefit from the first-class health care they deserve." Nicola Sturgeon added.