NHS spending is going up, but other health spending isn’t

Published: 13th Jan 2017

In brief


The NHS budget will rise by £22 billion over the next few years.


That’s correct, but it’s less when adjusted for inflation, and non-NHS health spending is going down. The real rise in overall health spending in England is expected to be around £5 billion.

“If you looks at the sums of money overall, the raw figures for 2015/16, the NHS budget was £98.1 billion, 2020/21 it’s to be £119.9 billion. It is going up.”

David Lidington MP, 12 January 2017

The figures are right, but the rise isn’t as fast as indicated by the claim. It’s also less when the budget is adjusted for inflation, and the claim doesn’t take account of reductions in non-NHS health spending.

The budget for the English NHS was £98.1 billion in 2014/15, and is due to rise to £119.9 billion by 2020/21. These are indeed “raw figures”, in that the natural rise in prices will erode the real value of that money: adjusted for inflation, we calculate that 2020/21’s budget will be more like £111 or £112 billion.

Meanwhile, health spending beyond the NHS is set to fall by £4.9 billion. So the total rise in health spending in real terms will be around £4.7 billion from 2015/16.

We’ve got more details on the money, and whether it’s sufficient, in our article on spending on the English NHS.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of BBC Question Time. Read the roundup.


NHS pay: what’s the deal?

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