Theresa May will confirm on Monday that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) can expect a major boost from the ‘Brexit dividend’ once it stops pouring billions of pounds into EU coffers.
Britain’s gross contribution to the EU budget, including the bloc’s share of VAT receipts and customs duties, was some £18.6 billion in 2017, according to House of Commons Library research.
This sum is partly discounted by the UK rebate, which was secured by the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s following years of overpayments, although this shrunk considerably under Tony Blair, who agreed to give around a third of it away in exchange for a promise to reform EU farm subsidies — which was not kept.
It is often suggested that money spent by the bloc in the United Kingdom should also be subtracted — although the UK generally does not decide how this money is spent, and research suggests it would go much further if it were under national control — which brings the so-called net contribution down to £8.9 billion, as of 2017.
EU sympathisers often try to minimise this sum by comparing it to Britain’s largest areas of expenditure, such as the welfare budget — although it is more than the central government spent on police forces in England and Wales in 2015-16, among other important public services which have been facing severe cutbacks.
Europe in Big Trouble Without Brexit Cash and Negotiators Should Use That to Our Advantage, Says Rees-Mogg https://t.co/ksj2LkeEL4
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 28, 2018
Leave campaigners argued strongly for Britain’s EU budget contributions to be reinvested in the NHS after Brexit, at least in part, and EU loyalists have often attempted to criticise them for their failure to produce this money.
The fact that Brexiteers are not in a position to deliver on their referendum proposals because Remainers have retained control of the Government and Britain has still not left the EU or stopped paying contributions to it is seldom addressed — although the Prime Minister’s planned announcement that the health service will indeed receive a £4 billion spending boost suggests Leave-supporting ministers have finally persuaded her.
The budget increase, which may be part-funded by tweaks to borrowing and taxation as well, should amount to around £350 million a week, according to Spectator editor Fraser Nelson — exactly the sum the Vote Leave campaign suggested NHS spending could increase by during the referendum.