- Capital spending announced by Boris Johnson to be largely met by cash reserves already held by NHS
- Prime minister has insisted spending announcement was “new money”
- £1bn lift to spending limit means trusts can revert to their original plans for capital projects
The capital spending announced by Boris Johnson will be largely funded by cash reserves already held by NHS providers, a letter to the service confirms.
In a letter to trusts, seen by HSJ, NHS England and NHS Improvement said the government has agreed to raise the Department of Health and Social Care’s capital spending limit by £1bn. This means trusts can revert to their original spending plans in 2019-20, having previously being told to cut them by a fifth.
It comes after prime minister Boris Johnson announced £1.8bn of additional capital for the service earlier this month. He later insisted this was “new money” following criticism of its presentation by the Nuffield Trust think tank.
The letter, from NHSE/I chief financial officer Julian Kelly, confirmed that £1bn of the additional spending in 2019-20 would be met through “trust’s own income and reserves or where [the Department of Health and Social Care] has already approved the business case or funding for programmes”. Many trusts have significant cash reserves which they had previously been told not to spend, and the new limit loosens the constraints.
The 20 per cent cut had been estimated to have shaved £950m from trust’s original 2019-20 capital plans.