Boris under fire in ‘EU funds for NHS’ row, says Unite

Boris under fire in ‘EU funds for NHS’ row, says Unite

15 April 2016

The claim of leading Brexit Tories Boris Johnson and Michael Gove that money currently spent on contributions to the EU would be diverted to the NHS is ‘outrageously misleading’. 

Unite, the country’s largest union with 100,000 members in the health service, said that Johnson and Gove were supporters of a government that had seen ‘real’ cuts to the NHS budget since the austerity programme started - way before the 23 June referendum was announced in February this year.

Unite national officer for health Barrie Brown said: “For decades, successive governments, even including Margaret Thatcher’s, have budgeted for an annual four per cent increase in NHS spending.

“When David Cameron came to power in 2010 and the austerity agenda kicked-in, the real term increase has been 0.9 per cent a year, which has resulted in about half the trusts being in deficit.

“The current state of the NHS is nothing to do with Brussels, but has everything to do with successive years of underfunding; an increasing population, especially amongst the elderly; and great strides in health innovation and science which are costly.

“To cap it all, there has been the blinkered, ideological and unimaginative leadership of Jeremy Hunt since he became health secretary in 2012.

“It is spurious and outrageously misleading to blame the EU for problems that are home-grown and made worse by the Tory government.

“And it defies belief to think that Boris Johnson and Michael Gove would do a massive political U-turn and divert billions of EU cash into the NHS – when they have supported real cuts to the NHS budget and been enthusiastic flag-wavers for the privatisation and break-up of the NHS.

“If Boris Johnson is so keen on getting more cash for the NHS why is he not standing up in the House of Commons as a backbench MP and quizzing Hunt on the current financial squeeze in the NHS which has seen the four-hour waiting time in A&E departments continually breached.”  


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.