• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Budget news – live: ‘Impossible to know’ when NHS backlog will be cleared as Sunak pledges £6bn in funding

·18-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Health secretary Sajid Javid has admitted it is “impossible to know” whether the NHS backlog will be cleared within three years, despite the Treasury pledging £6bn to help solve the problem as part of Rishi Sunak’s autumn Budget.

It is understood that £3.8bn of the funding will go towards getting the health service “back on track” following the Covid crisis, while roughly £2.1bn will be used for “digitising” the NHS.

Previous estimates have suggested that the sum offered may not be enough to clear the huge backlog in care, with figures showing that the number of people waiting for routine hospital treatment in England has hit a record 5.6 million.

More than £30bn of spending has already been committed across numerous announcements from the Treasury over the weekend, the largest of which being £7bn for transport infrastructure outside of London.

However, Mr Sunak admitted on Sunday that only £1.5bn of that £7bn would be new money as the chancellor conceded that much of the funding would go towards previously announced projects.

Read More

‘Prosperous’ cabinet ministers’ seats in line for millions of development cash in new ‘levelling up’ row

Our Brexit woes could yet get worse – as haphazard policy is a common thread in the UK’s trade dealings

When is the Autumn Budget 2021?

Key Points

  • Sunak to hand NHS £6bn to tackle waiting lists and boost tech

  • ‘Impossible to know’ whether NHS backlog will be cleared in three years, Javid says

  • National living wage ‘set to rise to £9.50 an hour’ – reports

  • Johnson admits he is ‘very worried’ Cop26 could fail to deliver key climate action

  • Former police chiefs warn controversial Policing Bill could ‘exacerbate’ serious violence

  • Cabinet ministers’ seats in line for millions of development cash

National living wage ‘set to rise to £9.50 an hour’ – reports

12:33 , Sam Hancock

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will reportedly announce a rise in the so-called national living wage in Wednesday’s Budget.

The news follows reports by BBC News and ITV’s Robert Peston. Here’s the latter with a lengthy thread on the topic:

PM admits Cop26 ‘might go wrong’

12:28 , Sam Hancock

Boris Johnson has admitted the crucial climate summit “might go wrong” and said reaching an agreement with world leaders could be “touch and go”.

The downbeat comments — just seven days before the Cop 26 summit kicks off — comes after the Russian president Vladimir Putin said he would not attend and amid uncertainty over whether Xi Jinping will attend, reports Adam Forrest.

Hosting children at No 10 for a “press conference” on the climate, the prime minister said the UK needed to persuade as many countries as possible to “go to net zero”.

PM admits climate summit ‘might go wrong’ and reaching agreement ‘touch and go’

Johnson ‘managing down' expectations for Cop26 ‘big-time’

12:22 , Sam Hancock

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick reports the following about Boris Johnson’s claims this morning:

PM claims ministers ‘don’t want to support new coal mines’

12:20 , Sam Hancock

More from Boris Johnson’s press conference now, which has left political pundits baffled.

The PM claimed he does not “want to support new coal mines”, as ministers face pressure to prevent a site opening in Cumbria.

Asked if he will continue to support new coal mines being created in the UK, Mr Johnson said somewhat ambiguously: “We don’t want to support new coal mines but what we want to do is to continue our progress to a zero-carbon future.”

12:11 , Conrad Duncan

Boris Johnson has joked that feeding people to animals could help to rebalance nature, as part of his press conference with school-children today.

WWF UK's Tanya Steele, who was appearing alongside the prime minister, noted in the conference that “97 per cent of the mass of mammals” on Earth was now humans or domestic animals.

Mr Johnson then replied that this was “so sad”, adding: “We could feed some of the human beings to the animals.”

‘Far from clear’ that Cop26 will bring progress on climate change, PM says

12:01 , Conrad Duncan

Boris Johnson has said it is “far from clear” that Cop26 will deliver the progress needed to tackle climate change as he welcomed Australia’s target for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

“That was actually very difficult for Australia because Australia's very heavily dependent on coal, on lots of carbon-producing industries and they've done a heroic thing, the Australians, in getting to that commitment,” Mr Johnson told schoolchildren in Downing Street.

“I hope that they will be joined by lots more countries in that region for the Cop summit.”

The prime minister added that there was a lot of “peer pressure” at the summit, with countries following the example of friends and neighbours.

However, he warned that it was “very, very far from clear that we will get the progress that we need”.

Johnson admits he is ‘very worried’ Cop26 could fail to deliver key climate action

11:57 , Conrad Duncan

Boris Johnson has admitted that it is “touch and go” whether the Cop26 climate conference will be a success, adding that he is “very worried” about the event.

The prime minister, who was answering questions from schoolchildren in Downing Street on Monday, said: “We need as many people as possible to go to net zero so that they are not producing too much carbon dioxide by the middle of the century.

“Now, I think it can be done. It's going to be very, very tough, this summit. And I'm very worried, because it might go wrong and we might not get the agreements that we need. It's touch and go.”

World leaders will begin gathering on Sunday for the conference in Glasgow.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

People living in poverty ‘hit harder by gas and electricity bills’, new data shows

11:36 , Conrad Duncan

Poorer households have been found to pay as much as 50 per cent more on their energy bills than those that are wealthier, according to data analysed by the Labour Party.

The figures show Britain’s poorest 10 per cent of households pay on average £756 a year per person for electricity, gas and other fuels, compared with an average of £504 per person for the richest households.

Our reporter, Sam Hancock, has the full story below:

People living in poverty ‘hit harder by gas and electricity bills’, new data shows

11:21 , Conrad Duncan

The UK’s national living wage is set to be increased from £8.91 per hour to £9.50 following a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission, according to ITV’s Robert Peston.

Mr Peston reports that business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has accepted the advice, with the rise expected to be formally announced in the Budget on Wednesday.

Record petrol prices a ‘dark day for drivers’, RAC says

11:06 , Conrad Duncan

The record rise in petrol prices in the UK is a “dark day for drivers”, the RAC has said, as the country’s fuel crisis continues.

“This is truly a dark day for drivers, and one which we hoped we wouldn't see again after the high prices of April 2012,” RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said.

“This will hurt many household budgets and no doubt have knock-on implications for the wider economy.

“The big question now is, 'where will it stop and what price will petrol hit?' If oil gets to 100 dollars a barrel, we could very easily see the average price climb to 150p a litre.”

Mr Williams added: “Even though many people aren't driving as much as they have in the past due to the pandemic, drivers tell us they are just as reliant on their cars, and many simply don't have a choice but to drive.

“Those on lower incomes who have to drive to work will seriously struggle to find the extra money for the petrol they so badly need.

“We urge the government to help ease the burden at the pumps by temporarily reducing VAT, and for the biggest retailers to bring the amount they make on every litre of petrol back down to the level it was prior to the pandemic.”

Prices at petrol pumps have reached all-time high, data shows

10:53 , Conrad Duncan

Prices at petrol pumps reached an all-time high over the weekend, with diesel just a little short of its previous record, according to new data.

The average UK price of petrol hit 142.94p a litre on Sunday, beating the former record, set in April 2012, by 0.46p.

Meanwhile, diesel prices reached 146.5p a litre on Sunday, short of its all-time high of 147.93p.

“Whether it's down to oil producers, market speculators, Treasury taxes or struggling retailers trying to balance their margins, record pump prices must be saying to drivers with the means that it is time to make the switch to electric,” AA fuel price spokesperson Luke Bosdet said.

“As for poorer motorists, many of them now facing daily charges to drive in cities, there is no escape.

“It's a return to cutting back on other consumer spending, perhaps even heating or food, to keep the car that gets them to work on the road.”

Cabinet ministers’ seats in line for millions of development cash in new ‘levelling up’ row

10:39 , Conrad Duncan

Seats held by seven cabinet ministers are in line to receive major development cash despite previously being judged as not needing the funds, sparking a new row over alleged bias in the government’s “levelling up” agenda.

The constituencies of Rishi Sunak, foreign secretary Liz Truss and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Stephen Barclay are all on a list of “priority places” for the new £1.5bn annual fund.

Our deputy political editor, Rob Merrick, has the full story below:

‘Prosperous’ cabinet ministers’ seats in line for millions of development cash

10:14 , Conrad Duncan

Our political correspondent, Ashley Cowburn, has more details below on Sajid Javid’s warning that the NHS backlog may not be cleared in the next three years:

‘Impossible to know’ if NHS backlog will be cleared in 3 years, Javid admits

Former police chiefs warn controversial Policing Bill could ‘exacerbate’ serious violence

10:07 , Conrad Duncan

A controversial Policing Bill that has prompted widespread protests could further undermine trust in forces and “exacerbate” serious violence, former police chiefs have warned.

The group of ex-police leaders, senior officers and advisers has written to home secretary Priti Patel this week to express their concerns about some of the proposals in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - which the House of Lords will continue to consider on Monday.

“As experts on police use of force, racial profiling, and stop and search, we believe that this Bill has dangerous implications for the fight against serious violence, an issue that demands police work in service to, not against, the communities facing its harms,” the letter said.

The group warned that placing a legal duty on police and public bodies, such as councils, health and fire services, to tackle serious violence and share intelligence and data could “negatively affect relationships” between the police and the public.

“Ultimately, these proposals will hit marginalised groups the hardest, disproportionately impacting Black men and communities of colour with whom the police need to rebuild trust,” the letter added.

“The duty may actually exacerbate people's experiences of alienation, exclusion, and isolation - some of the root causes of serious violence.”

A Home Office spokesperson responded by insisting that the Bill would “make our country and streets safer by equipping the police with the powers and tools they need.”

Exclusion zones outside schools an ‘option’ to tackle anti-vaxxers, Javid says

09:45 , Conrad Duncan

Exclusion zones outside schools are an option to prevent “idiot” anti-vaxxers spreading “vicious lies” to children, Sajid Javid has said, following reports of teachers and parents being harassed and intimidated.

“There are options, in terms of whether it’s an exclusion zone or potential action, I think it’s got to be done at local level, with local police,” Mr Javid said, when asked about the issue on Monday morning.

Our political correspondent, Ashley Cowburn, has the full story below:

Exclusion zones outside schools ‘option’ to tackle ‘vicious lies’ of anti-vaxxers

Starmer: ‘Let’s see what small print says on Budget announcements’

09:32 , Conrad Duncan

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he will “wait and see what the small print is” for Rishi Sunak’s Budget this week, following a string of funding pledges for infrastructure and the NHS.

When asked about reports of £6bn being allocated for the health service, Sir Keir told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “Well let’s wait and see what the small print is because I’ve seen this many times where money that has already been allocated is re-announced...

“Money for the NHS is always welcome but let’s see what the small print is on Wednesday.”

You can find his comments in full below:

ICYMI: Sunak admits £7bn transport pledge has only £1.5bn of new money

09:09 , Conrad Duncan

Chancellor Rishi Sunak admitted on Sunday that his £7bn pre-Budget pledge for new transport projects contains only £1.5bn of new money.

The extra spending on train and tram upgrades in England’s cities comes as ministers attempt to fend off protests that pledges to the North and Midlands are being broken.

Our reporter, Adam Forrest, has the full story below:

Rishi Sunak admits £7bn transport pledge has only £1.5bn of new money

‘Impossible to know’ whether NHS backlog will be cleared in three years, Javid says

08:55 , Conrad Duncan

It is “impossible to know” whether the NHS backlog will be cleared within three years despite billions being pledged to help solve the problem, health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Mr Javid said on Monday that the waiting list was currently at 5.7 million people but he estimated that it could be as high as at least 7 million.

“I've been very open about this, it's going to go up before it comes down,” the minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today show.

“I'm not going to put a number on it - it's impossible to know because I don't know how many people will eventually come back to the NHS.

“With this investment, this £6bn investment in capital, in equipment, alongside the investment we've announced through the levy of £12bn a year going into the NHS and care systems - this is what's going to drive down that waiting list and make sure more people get seen as quickly as possible.”

 (AP)
(AP)

Health service needs more than £6bn funding offer, NHS official says

08:45 , Conrad Duncan

The NHS needs “a little bit more” than the £6bn funding which is set to be given to the health service to help tackle the waiting list backlog, an NHS official has said.

Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, told Times Radio: “£6bn is a lot of money, especially in the current economic climate.

“While it will be really helpful, particularly in addressing the backlog, we need to remember that the NHS does need a little bit more than that in order to properly restore services and work through the additional expenses that have been created by Covid-19.

“So certainly that money will go a long way, but I think that we will also need to see investment in other areas.”

Javid says expectant mothers should be ‘reassured’ they will get care they need

08:34 , Conrad Duncan

Health secretary Sajid Javid has insisted that expectant mothers should be “reassured” that they will get the care they need following reports that maternity services are near breaking point.

The Guardian reported on Sunday night that the NHS could be unable to deliver necessary care for women giving birth if Covid cases continue to rise.

When asked about the report, Mr Javid replied: “Of course, I can reassure... no expectant mum should have that kind of concern.

“I’m not going to say for a second that the NHS is not under huge pressure, everyone can see what’s happening and throughout the pandemic we’ve seen the NHS rise to a huge challenge - and that challenge continues.”

You can find his comments in full below:

Javid insists NHS investment will start making difference ‘pretty quickly’

08:20 , Conrad Duncan

Some of the £6bn NHS investment will start “making a difference pretty quickly”, with more than £2bn going to community diagnostic centres for tests and scans to tackle waiting lists, health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Mr Javid insisted on Monday that funding would be made available for the issue of staff shortages, when asked about NHS Confederation figures showing the health service was short of 80,000 workers.

“This £6bn is about sort of capital investments, so... physical things like beds, IT equipment, scanners and things,” he said.

“But the staff investment is actually the announcement... I made just a few weeks ago, and that is the investment of an additional £12bn a year into the NHS and social care, and a large chunk of that is the staff and the day-to-day running costs of the NHS and that includes of course, training costs.

“You're right to point out that we need more people, it is a big challenge. In the last year, I'm pleased that we've seen I think 3,000 more doctors, 9,000 more nurses, but we do need a lot more, we need them for a long-term.”

Staff shortages should be tackled as part of NHS investment, expert says

08:05 , Conrad Duncan

Staff shortages should be tackled as part of investment into the NHS as funding for equipment will not solve all of the health service’s problems, the chief executive of The King's Fund has said.

Richard Murray told BBC Radio 4’s Today show that Rishi Sunak’s Budget looked like it would target some of the “big issues” now facing the NHS but more needed to be done.

“We have very few MRI or CT scanners in the United Kingdom compared to other countries,” Mr Murray said.

“There are many gains we have made through Covid about the use of technology, so this is certainly welcome, but the real challenge is as we build these new facilities will we have any staff to put in them, to actually work them?

“This is only three parts of the overall capital spending for the NHS and we still don't know what's happened to the rest.”

He added: “There are already very deep shortages across the NHS and that includes in some of the key areas of diagnostics, so great to have the kit and it does need to be updated, but there are shortages even as we speak, so expanding NHS capacity, you've got to go hand-in-hand with the facilities.

“It's increasingly odd that as we look towards the future this one great big keystone- how we're going to handle NHS workforces and health and social care staffing - is still the missing piece.”

Sunak to hand NHS £6bn to tackle waiting lists and boost tech

07:56 , Conrad Duncan

A £5.9bn funding package for tackling NHS waiting lists in England will form part of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s autumn Budget, the Treasury has said.

The spending announcement comes after the latest NHS figures showed that the number of people waiting for routine hospital treatment in England had hit 5.6 million - the highest number since records began in 2007.

Our reporter, Adam Forrest, has the full story below:

Rishi Sunak to hand NHS £6bn to tackle waiting lists

07:48 , Conrad Duncan

Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of UK politics today.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting