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How much should be spent on the NHS?

Osborne vs ring fence

By Paul Johnson   June 2013

The spending review takes place on 26th June and calls to rethink the “ring fence” and the funding of the National Health Service are being heard frequently. If newspaper reports are to be believed, these calls are coming from government ministers.

Given the NHS’s special status, and the political risks associated with cuts, it is a risky debate, but one that is grounded in straightforward financial arithmetic.

That arithmetic is striking. If the Chancellor goes ahead with cuts for 2015-16 (the year this spending review covers), which broadly keep to the same trajectory we have seen over this parliament, then…

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