The Government must keep the Vote Leave campaign’s promise to spend £1.446bn on the National Health Service in the North West, North West Labour MEPs Theresa Griffin, Afzal Khan and Julie Ward said today.
During the EU referendum campaign, Vote Leave promised to spend an extra £350 million a week (£18.2bn a year) on the NHS. Figures produced by the House of Commons Library commissioned by Chuka Umunna MP, Chair of the Vote Leave Watch campaign show that, if this promise was carried out, the North West would have an extra £1.446bn to spend on the NHS.
The pledge was made by people who are now senior members of the cabinet, like Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Priti Patel.
This would be enough to end the funding crises in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.
Over 40 MPs nationally from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens have written to the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, calling on him to #ShowUsTheMoney and use the Autumn Statement on November 23rd to honour the promise made by his Vote Leave cabinet colleagues and commit to spend the extra money on the NHS.
Commenting, Julie Ward MEP said:
“I know many people in the North West voted to leave the EU because they were promised, in good faith, that an extra £350 million a year would be spent on our NHS if Britain left the EU. Now we know how much is specifically owed to the North West we should ensure that those who are responsible for making the promise are held to account.
“Just think what that money would mean for our area, especially those hospitals, walk-in centres, clinics, A&E, cancer, mental health and maternity services that are being threatened by Tory austerity cuts, such as Liverpool Women's Hospital, Prestwich’s Walk-In Centre in Bury and the A&E department in West Cumberland Hospital and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.
“Now the Leave campaigners in the Government need to keep their promise and give our NHS in the North West the extra funding it so desperately needs.”
Access to health is a fundamental right and is enshrined under EU law. Seeing as UK citizens now risk being stripped of their European rights, we must ensure that the UK government at least guarantees high quality healthcare for all, and Labour knows this requires public investment. More than ever a properly funded NHS, free at the point of delivery, is needed for all of our citizens and in all of our communities.”
Theresa Griffin MEP said:
"It is absolutely vital that Vote Leave are held to account for the promises that they made during the referendum campaign. Many people voted to leave the European Union because of these claims. With the Autumn Statement from the Chancellor this is the perfect chance for Vote Leave to make sure that the £350m a week goes to the NHS and it gets the money it needs."
Also commenting, Afzal Khan MEP stated:
“Thanks to Tory cuts the NHS in the North West is facing a crisis – waiting times are up, patient satisfaction is down and staffing shortages are pushing services to breaking point.
“The Leave campaign promised that Brexit would mean almost £1.5bn more next year for the NHS in the North West. People voted leave on this basis and the Government should respect the voters by ensuring the NHS gets the extra money it needs.
“I urge the chancellor to make good on the ‘£350 million a week for the NHS’ promise in his Autumn statement.”
Chuka Umunna MP, Chair and founder of Vote Leave Watch, said:
“We set up Vote Leave Watch to hold Leave campaigners to account for the promises they made in the referendum campaign, like spending £350 million more a week on the NHS.
“When Cabinet ministers make big promises like this to the nation, it is vital they are not allowed to forget them.”