UK budget 2020: experts react

  • Phil Tomlinson
  • Cam Donaldson
  • Craig Berry
  • Gabriella Conti
  • Gavin Midgley
  • John Weeks
  • Karl Schmedders
  • Madeleine Gabriel
  • Ross Brown
  • W McCausland

Press/Media: Articles in 'The Conversation'



Gabriella Conti, Associate Professor in Economics, UCL

It is certainly welcome that more public resources will be devoted to the NHS, although it would have been better to do this less in “crisis-response mode” and more via sustainable spending.

The budget provides more than £6 billion of further funding to strengthen the NHS in England, though not all the details of how the extra funding will be used have been spelled out. The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, seems to assume the coronavirus outbreak will be shortlived. We all hope so, but it is reassuring to know that the NHS has been promised all the resources it needs.

Dealing with a surge of COVID-19 cases like that seen in Italy will require a major effort. The NHS managed to cope with the swine flu scare in 2009/2010, but it is struggling today, missing key performance targets and with ICU beds already at high capacity.

It is certainly reassuring that social care is included in the emergency response fund – there is likely to be a significant increase in demand – and that the government reconfirmed its commitment to long-term reform of adult social care. But it is worrisome that the refinancing and reform of social care seems to have been postponed yet again.

Period11 Mar 2020

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