The National Health Service may be so heavily impacted by spending cuts brought on by Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget that it could be “finished”, according to Sir Charlie Bean. Sir Charlie, who is also a member of the Office of Budget Responsibility, has warned that if Liz Truss does not reverse current fiscal plans there be no other option for the NHS.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also criticised the budget and Mr Kwarteng’s plans to encourage growth through tax cuts and curb inflation through interest rate rises.
The IMF has expressed concerns that it will “likely increase inequality” in the UK.
Sir Charlie warned that markets are losing faith in the Government.
He told Sky News: “The thing about credulity is when you lose it, it can be quite difficult to get it back. It takes time.
“I would say that we’ve got a few steps down the road. It is serious.
“And I don’t think the Government can really afford just to say, ‘Oh, this is just a little bit of froth in markets; they’ll come to their senses as soon as we lay out our full programme.
“There are real questions to be addressed about how the Government’s fiscal strategy hangs together, and how it can ensure that the debt to GDP ratio is back on to a sustainable path by the medium term.”
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“So if you want to get the share of Government spending to GDP down, you have to be prepared, say, to move away from our own health service, which is free at the point of delivery to one funded by social insurance like they do in Germany.”
The British Medical Journal has described the mini-budget as having “worrying implications for the future of the NHS”.
The country’s health service continues to struggle with a backlog of patients from the pandemic and increased ambulance wait times.