Additional health funding will add to burden of spending

The Office for Budget Responsibility has warned that extra health funding and an ageing population will contribute to the burden of spending over the next 50 years.

Unless the government moves to increase taxes or take other measures to reduce spending, the Treasury’s independent financial forecaster warns that the recent £2 billion boost to the health budget promised by Prime Minister Theresa May will actually increase the public deficit. Moreover, its second annual report on the outlook for public finances finds that falling immigration will cut the number of young and working age people.

Coupled together, the OBR finds that the health budget was likely to rise to eight per cent of GDP by 2024 from the current level of just over seven per cent, and to 13.8 per cent by the mid-2060s.

Robert Chote, OBR chairman, claims that a new assessment of patient need, based on analysis in the US, shows that increasing ill-health from diabetes and other diseases will account for one percentage point of the rise to 13 per cent. The triple lock on pensions and higher public sector pension costs will also add to the long-term bill.

Also looking at the costs of higher education over the next 40 years, the OBR says that the government’s total spending will rise from 36.4 per cent in 2022-23 to 44.6 per cent by 2067-68 under current projections - excluding interest payments on national debt.

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