U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond dismissed the idea that the National Health Service (NHS) will be given a “Brexit dividend,” despite reports that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will press for it at a Cabinet meeting this morning, according to the Guardian.
“Well, Mr. Johnson is the foreign secretary,” Hammond told reporters in Brussels ahead of a EU finance ministers meeting this morning. “I gave the health secretary [Jeremy Hunt] an extra £6 billion in the recent budget and we will look at departmental allocations again at the spending review when that takes place.”
“Because of the [Brexit] negotiations that are going on there is a degree of uncertainty about our future direction and arrangements for trading with our European partners and that is bound to have an impact on thinking about the economy,” he said, referring to the International Monetary Fund’s decision to downgrade the U.K. growth forecast in 2019 from 1.6 percent to 1.5 percent.
During a planned discussion of the NHS’s recent performance today, Johnson is expected to ask Prime Minister Theresa May for an extra £100 million a week in funding. During the referendum campaign, he and other Leave campaigners promised that Brexit would free up £350 million a week for the NHS. Brexiteers have been keen to demonstrate tangible short-term benefits from the vote.
The NHS is currently experiencing severe winter pressures and has postponed all elective operations until the end of this month.