‘Tory smash and grab raids’ on maintenance budgets

Labour has demanded that UK PM Boris Johnson tackles a £6 billion repair bill and end ‘Tory smash and grab raids’ on maintenance budgets.

Labour revealed what it calls a "staggering" £4.29 billion has been cut from capital budgets, as part of deliberate smash and grab raids to prop up the day-to-day running of the NHS since 2014.

Capital funding is used to repair NHS facilities, buy new equipment, invest in IT and build premises.

Labour recently revealed 76 hospital Trusts in England had incidents occurring at their Trust due to estates and infrastructures failures in 2018/19. These problems included sewage and water leaking onto hospital wards, broken lifts and ceilings collapsing.

Just last month fire services warned four NHS Trusts they may shut down parts of their hospitals, due to their decrepit state posing a threat to patients and staff.

On Saturday, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth MP, warned the Prime Minister that any pledge to clear the £6 bill maintenance backlog must include urgently halting capital to revenue transfers.

The cost of eradicating ‘high risk’ backlog maintenance rose from £947 million in 2016/17 to more than £1 billion in 2017/18, with the ‘significant risk’ backlog at £3 billion. The total backlog increased from £5.5 billion in 2016/17 to almost £6 billion in 2017/18.

Responding to Labour’s new research, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said:“Tory smash and grab raids on NHS capital budgets have now meant over £4 billion cuts leaving our hospitals crumbling with ceilings falling in, sewage pipes bursting and diagnostic waiting times the worst in a decade.

“Hospitals are now struggling with a repair bill spiralling out of control at a staggering £6 billion, with patients forced to wait longer for life saving treatment.

“The backlog designated high risk and significant risk stands at over £3 billion while the overall capital budget today is less than it was in 2010 in real terms. This is clear proof Tory cuts are putting patient safety seriously at risk.

“In the week it’s been revealed that Matt Hancock has delivered less than three per cent of previous Tory promises on capital investment no one will trust what Boris Johnson says unless it is backed up by a clear costed plan to give our NHS the capital investment patients deserve and an end to these disastrous smash and grab raids.”

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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