Documents to download

The NHS Funding Bill is a two-clause government bill intended to place a legal duty on the Government to guarantee a minimum level of revenue spending for the NHS in England in each year from 2020/21 to 2023/24 inclusive. The amounts specified rise from £127.0 billion in 2020/21 to £148.5 billion in 2023/24. These figures compare with £120.1 billion in 2019/20.

The bill would place into law a funding settlement for NHS England first announced by the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, in June 2018. This formed the basis of the NHS’s Long Term Plan, published in January 2019. Legislation to enshrine the settlement in law was a commitment in both the Conservative Party 2019 general election manifesto and the Queen’s Speech in December 2019.

The bill passed through its House of Commons stages unamended. Issues debated included:

  • The funding amounts in the bill being set out in cash terms, not real terms (ie adjusted for inflation) meaning that if inflation exceeds expectations, the purchasing power of the settlement might be less than anticipated.
  • That the bill only relates to revenue spending. Some speakers argued that other areas should also be covered, such as: capital spending; education and training; the local authority public health grant; and social care.
  • The relationship between the bill and the aim of achieving “parity of esteem” for mental health services.
  • The effect of the funding settlement on the NHS’s ability to meet its performance targets.

The bill is a ‘money bill’. This means it can receive royal assent without being passed by the House of Lords, and also that the House of Commons is not obliged to consider any amendments made by the Lords. It is normal practice for such bills not to be committed to a committee stage in the Lords, instead going directly from second to third readings.

The bill is an example of the Government committing in primary legislation to an action which is already within its power.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • International Women’s Day 2024: Economic inclusion of women

    Economic disparities persist between men and women globally, with women generally facing lower pay, higher levels of informal employment, and more unpaid care work than men. Internationally, the UK government has made commitments to promote gender equality and economic inclusion, but concerns have been raised about the level of aid funding. In the UK, the government has expanded childcare places for working parents and supported private members’ bills to make changes to employment law.

    International Women’s Day 2024: Economic inclusion of women
  • Higher education: Contribution to the economy and levelling up

    The economic output of the UK higher education sector is estimated to be at least £116bn and graduates often experience better employment outcomes than non-graduates. Improving skills features in the government’s levelling up strategy and ministers have said that higher education institutions play a vital part in supporting regional economies. However, some stakeholders have criticised the government’s plans to restrict access to certain higher education courses and for not putting enough emphasis on the benefits provided by the sector.

    Higher education: Contribution to the economy and levelling up