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NHS to suffer £2.7bn cuts 'after government miscalculation of public sector pension costs', research suggests

'These cuts are the equivalent of paying the salary of over 61,000 nurses a year,' says Peter Dowd, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the treasury

Samuel Osborne
Monday 01 October 2018 10:52 BST
NHS at 70: A timeline of the National Health Service and its crisis

The NHS will suffer cuts worth £2.7bn after the government miscalculated the pension costs of public sector workers, new analysis by the House of Commons library has shown.

The research suggested that government underestimated the costs by as much as £4bn a year.

That money could have paid for the salaries of over 61,900 nurses, the Labour Party, which released the research, said.

The government had pledged to cover the additional costs up until 2020, but the health service will need to pay for the shortfall until the next election.

Labour said the cuts were evidence that “you cannot trust the Tories with our NHS”.

Peter Dowd, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the treasury, said: “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 Treasury and Department of Health declined to comment when contacted by The Independent. The Conservative Party has also been asked for comment.

The announcement that the government had underestimated the pension costs of all public sector workers by as much as £4bn a year was quietly announced in a statement earlier this month.

“The chancellor must immediately own up and commit to meeting these extra costs, not just push them on to slashed and struggling public services,” Mr Dowd added. “All this just goes to show, you cannot trust the Tories with our NHS.”

It comes after experts warned a government pledge to invest £145m in emergency department upgrades and 900 more beds would “not scratch the surface” of shortages which severely affected the NHS last winter.

Hospitals had to deploy 4,000 extra beds to manage demand last year and said much more investment was needed.

The Treasury had said there would be no additional money for the NHS or other sectors after Theresa May pledged an additional £20bn a year for the health service by 2023, but that funding will not begin until 2019.

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