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New pensions shortfall could cost NHS £2.7bn

The Labour Party claims that new analysis from the House of Commons library reveals the NHS will suffer £2.7bn in new cuts over the course of this Parliamentary term. 


The cuts are said to be the result of a government miscalculation, which underestimated the pension costs of all public sector workers by as much as £4bn a year. The government has offered to cover departments' additional costs for one year only, leaving the NHS to soak up two years' worth of additional pension costs, which, it says totals £2.7bn before the next election.


This is the second time that the government has asked departments to make cuts to cover a mistake in pension calculations. This latest round comes in addition to nearly £4bn of cuts that government departments including health were forced to make in the 2016 budget, when the government made the same mistake.


This mistake was announced late in the day when Parliament wasn't sitting, which, the Labour Party says, means this additional austerity measure has not received Parliamentary scrutiny.


Peter Dowd MP, Labour's Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, says: "Billions of pounds are being quietly cut from our NHS, due to a poisonous cocktail of disastrous economic mismanagement and spiteful behaviour. These cuts are the equivalent of paying the salary of over 61,000 nurses a year. Nurses whom we desperately need after eight years of crushing austerity in our NHS.


"The Chancellor must immediately own up and commit to meeting these extra costs, not just push them on to slashed and struggling public services."