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Lib Dems claim £700m cut will delay New Hospital Programme

A price range lower deliberate for subsequent yr is prone to delay the federal government’s £3.7bn promise to construct “40 new hospitals” by 2030, the Liberal Democrats have claimed.

The current Autumn Assertion set the capital price range for the Division of Well being and Social Care (DHSC) at £12bn in 2022-23 and £11.7bn in 2023-24.

Amongst different functions, this cash is used to fund constructing and upkeep prices, together with the New Hospital Programme.

Primarily based on the Workplace for Price range Accountability’s ‘GDP deflator’, which accounts for anticipated inflation, the Lib Dems mentioned the plans amounted to a £700m lower to the DHSC capital price range in actual phrases.

The celebration mentioned that, in consequence, it’s “extremely probably that new hospital buildings will probably be additional delayed, regardless of some hospitals being ‘life expired’ and saddled with restore backlogs operating into the tens of hundreds of thousands of kilos”.

Initiatives within the programme embody a brand new built-in eye hospital in central London referred to as Oriel – for which Bouygues was recently confirmed as the preferred contractor – in addition to a facility to switch the present Royal Liverpool College Hospital, and a brand new most cancers analysis hospital in Cambridge.

However in July, the NHS Suppliers chief government Saffron Cordery mentioned the New Hospital Programme was on “shaky floor” after a survey of NHS leaders discovered half of trusts within the programme weren’t assured that they’d been allotted enough funding to ship their mission. 

And it just lately emerged that a few of the tasks within the scheme had not but utilized for planning permission.

In his Autumn Assertion speech final week, chancellor Jeremy Hunt named the New Hospital Programme as a authorities mission that “will probably be funded as promised”, alongside others, together with the Sizewell C nuclear energy station and the HS2 line to Manchester.

In response to a query within the Home of Commons following the assertion, Hunt additionally mentioned that “we do commit in the present day that we are going to defend the New Hospital Programme”.

Daisy Cooper, the Lib Dem spokesperson for well being and social care, mentioned: “This Conservative authorities has failed sufferers and NHS employees. They’ve been operating well being providers into the bottom for years. Now they give the impression of being set to chop the funding wanted proper now for his or her key promise of 40 new hospitals by 2030. The British public deserve higher.

“Our nation’s hospitals are in dire want of restore: there are too many horror tales of roofs leaking, crammed corridors and swelteringly scorching intensive care wards.”

The DHSC has been contacted for remark.