politics

NHS and transport prioritised in £30bn pre-Budget announcements



T

he NHS and transport upgrades look set to be the big winners in announcements made by Rishi Sunak ahead of his second Budget of the year on Wednesday.

Mr Sunak said his address to the Commons would focus on “looking to the future and building a stronger economy for the British people”.

Mr Sunak’s previous budgets in March 2021 and 2020 had been heavily focused on supporting the country through the coronavirus pandemic.

But now the Chancellor is keen to focus on rebuilding, including by committing £6 billion to help the NHS clear its backlog and digitising the health service for the future.

Skills, innovation, and economic growth were also central to key pledges, as he said it was vital that public finances were returned to a stable footing.

On Sunday night, it was revealed that Mr Sunak is expected to set out investment in NHS capital funding that will support the aim to deliver around 30% more elective activity by 2024-25 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

This is equivalent to millions more checks, scans and procedures for non-emergency patients, the Treasury said.

In an effort to address the Covid backlog of people waiting for checks, tests and scans, and help get waiting lists down, £2.3 billion of the funding package will be used to try to transform diagnostic services.

While £2.1 billion of the £5.9 billion total will be invested in technology and data in a bid to improve efficiency and security within the NHS.

Speaking to Times Radio earlier on Sunday, Mr Sunak said that “(over) the last year, I’ve been focused on delivering our plan for jobs, protecting people’s livelihoods, their incomes, their jobs”.



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