Under-Fire Jeremy Hunt Says There Would Not Be “Very Much Brexit Dividend To Fund NHS”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was ambushed by BBC host Andrew Marr after he suggested there would not be “very much Brexit dividend” to raise the extra £20 bn to the NHS.

In an appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, the presenter asked the Tory to explain how the Government planned to raise the extra funding it promised to the NHS after Mr Hunt dismissed Theresa May’s claim that a £20bn a year NHS spending increase would come from a “Brexit dividend”, which the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said does not exist.

Asked by Mr Marr whether he agreed with the “expert”, the Tory replied: “No”.

Mr Marr noted that “If Jeremy Corbyn came into this studio and said ‘I’m going to spend £20bn extra on something but I can’t tell you how I’m raising it,’ he would be absolutely crucified. As a Government, you are currently doing the same thing. ‘We have £20bn, where’s it coming from? We don’t know, we will tell you in due course.”

The BBC presenter then read what the Institute of Fiscal Studies’ report that says there isn’t a Brexit dividend. “If you look at the arrangement we’ve come to with the European Union in terms of paying our Brexit bill and you add to that the commitment the Government has already made to keep funding farmers and so on, there is literally, arithmetically, no money.” he said.

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Mr Marr read some parts of the IFS report: “In addition, we know the public finances will be worse as a result of the Brexit vote. The OBR has said by £15bn a year, there just isn’t really money there for a Brexit dividend.”

Mr Hunt said over the first few years after Brexit, the dividend would be small due to the £40 billion the UK will have to pay Brussels to leave the bloc.

He also said the Government would provide the public with a clearer plan in the Autumn Budget and after NHS “comes up with a plan that meets our requirements.”

Mr Hunt said: “I don’t think we’ll have very much Brexit dividend because in the first period when we leave the EU, we’ll be paying a divorce bill which will be substantial.”

He said the PM was very clear that there would be an “impact on the taxes we all pay, we will find out what that impact is at the budget.”

“Why are we not spending that out now? We need to give the NHS six months to come up with a plan and this is a conditional offer by the Government.”

Health Secretary also added: “We’re telling them how much we would be prepared to give them and we’ll tell the country exactly how we’ll pay for it in the budget.”

He said a lot of experts have been proved wrong in the past in their forecast and “we actually think that the British economy can get through this challenging period,” although “we don’t know exactly when and we don’t know what the impact is which is why we’re being very clear that there will be an impact on the taxes people pay and we will set that out in the budget.”

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