Chancellor George Osborne has said that the NHS budget will rise from its current level of £101 to £120bn by 2020/21 in today’s spending review.
He also announced that the Department of Health’s Whitehall budget will face a 25% cut to help meet the required £22bn efficiency savings set out by the NHS chief executive Simon Stevens in his Five Year Forward View.
He said there would be a £1.5bn increase to the Better Care Fund, which was set up to help with the integration of health and social care.
Osborne will allow local authorities to raise council tax by 2% as long as the money raised is spent solely on social care, recognising that social care cuts put an increased pressure on health care services. This is expected to raise £2bn.
There are also plans for every business to have a digital tax account that will be funded by the closure of local tax offices.
The cap on nursing numbers, which he said forced hopsitals to look overseas and use expensive agencies, will be scrapped. There will be loans for nurses instead of grants and 10,000 new training places will be created.
Mental health got a mention as he announced £600m aditional funding to increase access to services such as talking therapies and perinatal care.
The chancellor avoided making controversial cuts to working tax credits and the police and said that the country was on track to achieve a surplus of £10.1bn in 2020/21 rising to £14.7bn in 2021.
Osborne said he would borrow £8bn less than predicted and the government was therefore “fixing the roof while the sun is shining”.
Overall a limit of £756bn will be set for public expenditure rising to £857bn in 2020/21.