Announcing the Comprehensive Spending Review today, George Osborne also outlined plans to expand the use of personal budgets for long-term conditions, increase social care funding by £2bn, protect the funding for healthcare research and prioritise work on the treatment of dementia.
Setting out the CSR, Mr Osborne pledged to increase total spending on healthcare above inflation year on year between 2010/11 to 2014/15.
He said this funding increase will filter through to devolved nations, who will see ‘cash rises in their budget’, although he admitted this will below the level of inflation.
For Scotland, the resource budget in 2014/15 will be £24.2bn, in Wales it will rise to £13.5 bn and it will rise to £9.5bn in Northern Ireland.
Mr Osborne also pledged to increase funding for social care by £2bn. He said: ‘The grant funding for social care will be increased by an additional £1bn by the fourth year of the Spending Review. A further £1bn for social care will be provided through the NHS to support joint working with councils – so that elderly people do not continue to fall through the crack between two systems.’
Meanwhile, Mr Osborne also outlined plans to expand use of personal budgets in the NHS. ‘We should understand that all services paid by the government do not have to be delivered by the government,’ he said, ‘That is why we will expand the use of personal budgets for long-term health conditions.’
He also outlined that public health grants will be one of the only local authority allocations that will be ring-fenced.
But overall local government will see funding cuts, prompting warnings from NHS Confederation that this could mean the extra social care funding might not reach those who need it.
Nigel Edwards, NHS Confederation acting chief executive, said despite protection of the NHS budget, the health service still faces ‘a potent cocktail of financial pressures’.
He said: 'The extra money going to councils for social care is also good news. But we do need to be cautious because the money is not ring fenced. With severe pressure on council budgets, we are worried that these funds will not get through to the people who need it.'
The main announcements made by Mr Osborne in the CSR were:
- Increase NHS spending from £104bn to £114bn over next four years
- Increase social care funding by £2bn
- Expand the use of personal budgets
- Public health grants to Local Authorities will be ring-fenced.
- Launch the Cancer Drug Fund
- Protect spending on health research
- Prioritise work on treatment of dementia