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Health secretary blasts Vote Leave campaigners’ ‘bogus’ NHS claims

The savings from EU membership that Vote Leave campaigners claim could be used to fund the health service will be totally wiped out by a dip in GDP of more than 0.6% Jeremy Hunt has said.

Speaking at the annual NHS Confederation Conference in Manchester today, the health secretary slammed claims of an NHS dividend as ‘utterly bogus’, warning a post-Brexit ‘hangover’ was more likely.

He warned that all independent economic forecasters expect a dip in the nation’s earnings if the UK left the EU, with many predicting this would be worse than 0.6%.

Mr Hunt told delegates: ‘Let me just say very bluntly that any suggestion that the NHS would see a dividend from leaving the European Union is utterly bogus.

‘The Institute for Fiscal Studies are very, very clear about this. Even if the entire net contribution to the EU – £120m a week – was given to the NHS, you would only need to see a contraction of 0.6% and those benefits would be totally wiped out.

‘Every independent forecaster says there will be a huge impact on the economy, and many say there will be a recession, and many believe it will be much bigger than 0.6%.’

He added that it was ‘not so much a Brexit dividend, but a Brexit hangover as the NHS wakes up having to deal with yet another recession’.

This comes as NHS Confederation chair Stephen Dorrell said yesterday that leaving the NHS would further worsen the NHS’s financial position at a time when significant reorganisation was under way.