UK Politics: May under pressure to commit more funds to NHS post-Brexit

Conservative backbenchers have criticised Theresa May over her attitude to the health and social care crisis.
Conservative backbenchers have criticised Theresa May over her attitude to the health and social care crisis.
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The UK Prime Minister Theresa May is facing pressure from her own party to pledge more funds to the NHS after Brexit. The Tradefair team brings you the latest in UK politics...

"The truth is you simply can’t trust the Tories with the NHS. This winter we’ve seen cancelled operations, overcrowded hospitals and people stuck in the back of ambulances in the freezing cold. Now even Theresa May’s own supporters are fed up with her hopeless response to the crisis.”

- Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Health Secretary.

Theresa May is once again facing dissention in the ranks of her top MPs as she faces accusations of failing to respond to the health and social care crisis.

It's expected that this will dominate tomorrow's weekly Cabinet meeting, as five of her senior ministers will urge her to promise an additional £100 million per week to the NHS post-Brexit.

The move comes after the NHS has experienced one of its worst winters on record. Many believe the Prime Minister is out of touch with the reality of the healthcare system, especially after she said the NHS was "better prepared" than ever before.

Johnson leading the calls

Unsurprisingly, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will lead calls for the health service to be put to the top of the Conservative Party agenda. It comes after it was announced that housing, the environment and education would be the top concerns for the party going forward.

Johnson, who has been accused of trying to lead a mutiny to oust the Prime Minister, will argue with other senior MPs that neglecting the NHS will practically hand the keys to Downing Street to the opposition.

The concerns come after 90 MPs from all parties urged May to agree to cross-party working to address the current crisis, warning that it was being kicked "into the long grass".

A concise response

Seemingly unshaken by this latest challenge to her authority, the Prime Minister issued a three-paragraph response to silence her critics.
In the letter, May said that she and her government recognise "the challenges facing the NHS and care sector" and that the Conservatives are "committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the NHS and adult social care".

The letter added: "We are committed to engaging with all parties on key issues and I have asked the Secretary of State for Health to write to you to outline our plans moving forward."

Her response was heavily criticised by many senior MPs, including Chair of the Health Select Committee in the House of Commons Dr Sarah Wollaston.
She said it "lacks ambition" and that a "clear understanding" was needed from the Prime Minister that the NHS, public health and social care are "inextricably linked". Wollaston added that there was an urgent need to look at current and long-term funding.

With May unable to hold a majority government, the health chief explained that any measures proposed by a single political party will inevitably be trashed. She therefore highlighted the importance of cross-party action to get meaningful policies implemented to safeguard the health service.

A poor record on health and social care

The Prime Minister has had a bad run when it comes to health and social care. One of her key - and most controversial moves - was to have homeowners pay more for their care. Dubbed the "dementia tax", the Conservatives swiftly moved this off their agenda and froze the social care policies.

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Health Secretary, said: "The truth is you simply can't trust the Tories with the NHS. This winter we've seen cancelled operations, overcrowded hospitals and people stuck in the back of ambulances in the freezing cold. Now even Theresa May's own supporters are fed up with her hopeless response to the crisis."

In addition, the Prime Minister is still facing pressure to negotiate the best possible Brexit deal for the UK and many experts feel she is falling short.

Clarity is still needed for UK

The UK has come to an agreement with the EU that there will be a two-year transition period after Britain officially leaves the bloc in March 2019. However, the details of what this will entail or what a UK-EU trade relationship will look like post-Brexit are still to be decided.

Until important issues - which are likely to affect the British economy substantially in the coming years - are resolved, it's likely that the pound will continue to waver and financial investors will keep hold of their money.

This may be especially true when other regions, like Germany, the US, and China, are experiencing record highs in their stock markets, giving investors plenty of choices.

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