Budget 2016: sugar tax, £150m for prosthetics but no more money for the NHS

George Osborne’s latest budget left NHS spending unchanged – despite the pressures facing services due to growing patient demand, falling resources and staff shortages.

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George Osborne announced £150m for child prosthetics. Meanwhile, more than £1bn will be cut from allowances for disabled people

The chancellor reiterated his expectation that the NHS will deliver £22 billion of efficiency savings within five years.

Rachel Newton, the CSP’s policy officer, said: ‘It’s hardly a surprise that the budget did not include a promise of much-needed new money for the NHS.

‘As a proportion of its gross domestic product, the UK spends less on health services than many of its European counterparts.

‘Already many physiotherapy services are overstretched. So the government should be investing in physiotherapy to help people to be independent and avoid unnecessary and expensive inpatient care.’

Sugar tax

The budget said a new tax will be levied on sugary drinks with the intention of reducing childhood obesity. In England, one child in 10 is when they start primary school, rising to two in 10 by the time they leave.

The levy will be designed to encourage companies to cut the amount of sugar added to drinks, moving consumers towards lower sugar alternatives and reducing consumption.

CSP chief executive Karen Middleton welcomed the announcement: ‘This is a first step towards taking significant action on obesity. We look forward to seeing the government’s full strategy on this issue.’

Prosthetics

Elsewhere, £1.5 million will be invested in child prosthetics in England. The aim is to give hundreds of children with limb deficiency access to sports prosthetics. A fund will be created to incentivise the development of innovative prosthetic products for the NHS.

Responding to the budget, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said the chancellor could not have made his priorities clearer: ‘While over half a million people with disabilities are losing over £1 billion in personal independence payments, corporations are being handed billions in tax cuts.’





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by Gill Hitchcock

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