Boris Johnson’s first interview of 2020: fact checked

15th Jan 2020

Claim

The government are putting £34 billion into the NHS, the biggest ever cash injection.

Conclusion

This is the spending increase between 2018/19 and 2023/24 in cash terms, but that’s not the most meaningful way to look at it. In real terms it’s a spending increase of £20.5 billion and that’s not a record level.

 

There will be 50,000 more nurses going into the NHS.

 

The government has committed to do this by 2024/25. Not all of these nurses will be ‘new’.

 

The government have announced the end of hospital parking charges for patients.

 

In December it was announced that hospitals in England will have to provide free car parking to frequent hospital visitors, blue badge holders and at certain times to staff and parents of child patients.

 

The government will build 40 new hospitals.

 

Six hospitals in England are getting the money to upgrade their buildings within the next five years. Up to 38 hospitals are getting money to develop plans for their hospitals between 2025 and 2030, but not to actually begin any building work.

 

The government is putting 20,000 more police on the streets.

 

The government has committed to do this. If this happens it will take the number of police in England and Wales to almost, but not quite the same level as it was at in 2010.

 

The government gave the police much more use of Tasers to help deal with street crime.

 

The Home Office announced police in England and Wales can bid for part of a fund to equip their force with more Tasers. Final funding allocations will be announced in February.

 

The government are lifting the living wage by the biggest ever amount, up to £8.72, and it will go up to £10.50.

 

The national living wage set by the government is set to rise to £8.72 in April, the largest rise since it was put in place in 2016. It was also announced at last year’s Conservative party conference that it would rise to £10.50 within the next five years.

Claim 1 of 7

This week the Prime Minister took part in his first televised interview since winning the election in December, appearing on BBC Breakfast to be quizzed on everything from the royal family to social care.

During the interview he made a number of claims which we have written about before, plus a few new ones.

“We are putting £34 billion into the NHS, it’s the biggest ever cash injection.”

The £34 billion is the biggest spending increase if you don’t account for inflation, but that’s not the most meaningful way to look at the numbers.

In real terms (accounting for inflation) there will be a spending increase of £20.5 billion between 2018/19 and 2023/24. The last time spending increased by at least that amount was between 2004/05 and 2009/10. We’ve written more about this here.

“There will be 50,000 more nurses going into our NHS, we will have 6,000 more GPs…”

These were the staffing pledges included in the Conservative manifesto and whether these claims are accurate will ultimately depend on whether the targets are met. The party promised to have 50,000 more nurses in the NHS in England by 2024/25, though these won’t all be ‘new’ staff. We’ve written more about that here.

GP numbers in England have stayed at roughly the same level over the last few years, based on the latest comparable figures. Rougher figures show that the number of GPs per person in England has fallen since 2009. We’ve written more about that here.

“We already announced that we are going to be taking away hospital parking charges for patients…”

In December it was announced that hospitals in England “will be expected to provide free car parking to groups that may be frequent hospital visitors or those disproportionately impacted by daily or hourly charges for parking”. This includes blue badge holders and people who frequently attend outpatient appointments. It was also announced that at certain times of day parents of sick children who need to stay in hospital overnight and staff working night shifts will also be offered free parking.

These changes are expected to happen from April 2020.

“We will go on and build 40 new hospitals, 20 upgrades”

In October, the government announced plans to build “40 new hospitals” across England. But only six hospitals have actually been given the money to upgrade their buildings within the next five years. The rest will get money to develop plans for their hospitals between 2025 and 2030, but not to actually begin any building work yet. Many of these hospitals will be on existing hospital sites, so might not be what people consider to be brand new hospitals. We’ve written more on this here.

The plan for 20 hospitals to be upgraded was announced in July last year and is a separate policy.

“We are putting 20,000 more police on the streets”

This was a pledge from the Conservative party announced before the election. As with the commitment to more nurses and GPs we don’t know the accuracy of the claim yet as it depends on whether the target is met.

As we wrote in our fact check of the Conservative manifesto, this would return the number of police officers in England and Wales to almost, but not quite, the total in 2010.

But because the population has grown since 2010, recruiting another 20,000 full-time police officers would still leave the number per person 8% lower than it was in 2010, factoring in projected population increase and the government’s recruitment timetable.

“Just in the last few days we’ve done, just a couple more things that we’ve done, we gave the police much more use of Tasers to help to deal with street crime, to give them security from street crime…”

This week the Home Office announced that it would allow police in England and Wales to bid for part of a fund to equip their force with more Tasers. It says that final funding allocations will be announced in February.

“We're lifting the living wage by the biggest ever amount, up to £8.72, and it will go up to £10.50.”

The “national living wage” (the government’s minimum wage for anyone aged 25 and over) will rise from £8.21 to £8.72 in April. That’s the largest increase (not adjusting for inflation) since the national living wage was put in place in 2016.

The increase between 2015 and 2016, when the higher national living wage was introduced, was about 7% not taking into account inflation. That was an increase of 50p. That’s ever so slightly higher than the 2019 to 2020 increase, which will be about 6%, or an increase of 51p.

At the Conservative party conference last year the party also pledged to increase the wage to £10.50 within the next five years.

Correction 16 January 2020

We clarified the language of one of the claims to make clear it referred to hospital parking charges for patients, not hospital parking.