8 November 2018
In his Budget statement on Monday 29 October the Chancellor, Philip Hammond declared the “the era of austerity is finally coming to an end” reflecting what the Prime Minister had told the Conservative Party Conference on 3 October. It was also the pre-Brexit budget but may need to be revised next March if an acceptable exit package cannot be agreed.
On health, the Chancellor confirmed the increased spending of 3.4% real-terms growth per annum until through to 2023/24 (announced by the Prime Minister in June) and said that this would include funding for a new mental health crisis service including in A&E departments.
This is a welcome increase but follows the long period of squeezed funding through austerity. It also has to be set against the traditional long-term NHS funding requirement of 3.7% in real terms to keep pace with demand and the lack of balancing investment in social care to help community discharges.
It is unlikely therefore that any this money will find its way into GOS or enhanced services fees in England. It may be just enough to enable the NHS to limp on without genuine structural change, such as moving hospital care to the community, so either way is not good news for the community optical sector.
A new NHS long term plan, setting out delivery against this budget, will be published shortly. FODO has already responded to this consultation.
On the business and employment front, announcements included changes to IR35, reform of the apprenticeship levy and business rates support for small retailers.
Read the full response on the FODO website