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9 September 2021

How the NHS now dominates public spending

Health and social care will soon account for 40 per cent of the UK government’s day-to-day spending, up from 30 per cent a decade ago.

By Nicu Calcea

Health and social care spending will soon account for 40 per cent of the UK government’s day-to-day spending, analysis by the Resolution Foundation shows. This figure is a dramatic increase compared with 2004-05, when it accounted for 28 per cent of spending. 

Public spending is increasingly dominated by health and social care
Day-to-day Department of Health and Social Care spending as a share of all government spending
Source: Resolution Foundation

Spending on the Department of Health and Social Care has increased at twice the rate of overall spending, while other departments have seen their budgets remain below pre-2010 levels. The figures exclude spending related to the immediate costs of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Boris Johnson announced a 1.25 per cent rise in National Insurance earlier this week, with the money to be spent on reforming England’s social care system. However, only £5.4bn (15 per cent) of the £36bn raised will go towards social care, and overall day-to-day spending is still set to be lower in 2024-25 than was planned before the pandemic.

[See also: Why the social care crisis is not over]

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