• Thursday, September 21, 2023


Johnson to announce NHS boost before cabinet reshuffle

Britain prime minister Boris Johnson. (Reuters Photo)

By: Sattwik Biswal

THERE are chances of a cabinet reshuffle as Boris Johnson is expected to hand £34 billion to the NHS as part of a reform of health and social care.

According to a report by The Sunday Times, the first ministreal reshuffle by the prime minister in more than 18 months could happen on Thursday (9). Reports suggest the shake-up is done as a possible distraction from the likely rows over social care.

The ministers likely to be moved or removed include Gavin Williamson, the education secretary and Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, who was criticised for his Afghanistan handling. If Raab is moved, there are reports of him getting replaced by Liz Truss, the trade secretary, Sajid Javid, the health secretary or Michael Gove.

Meanwhile, Williamson is expected to be demoted to Leader of the House.

Johnson’s health and social care boost announcement is likely to give health service extra £10bn every year for the next three years, plus a premium of £3bn to £4bn for the rest of this year to tackle the backlog.

NHS leaders say they need £10bn more a year to cover the rising costs due to the pandemic. One said failure to deliver “will put patients’ lives at risk and could result in the waiting list hitting 13 million.

How are the social care plans going to be paid for? There would be an increase in national insurance by 1.25 percentage points that will raise between £10 billion and £11 billion each year.

However, there is big backlash from Tory MPs, who say the move breaks one of Johnson’s 2019 manifesto pledges.

In another manifesto commitment, it said pensioners would get and 8.8 per cent rise this year, but on Tuesday (7), chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to announce that he will temporarily suspend the “triple lock” on state pensions.

Sunak has instead planned to give the pensioners a 2.5 per cent rise, that would save more than £4bn.

Eastern Eye

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