The Tories are spending billions on Brexit as the NHS and schools face further cuts

Theresa May
Fréa Lockley

Brexit chaos continues. But new reports show the eye-watering cost of Brexit so far. And this comes against a backdrop of ongoing cuts as schools and the NHS face crisis.

The ‘magic’ Brexit money tree

Labour analysed January’s government data that shows all spending of £25,000 or more. This revealed that, in January alone, the government spent £5.5m on “management consultants to help with Brexit policy”. The government also bought a flat in New York worth $15.9m (£12m). This was for Antony Phillipson, a British diplomat, to “live in while he negotiates trade deals with the US”.

Meanwhile, according to a report from investment bankers Goldman Sachs, the British economy has lost £600m each week since the 2016 referendum. As I News reported:

This means that every seven days, Brexit has cost the economy nearly double what the Leave campaign promised would be spent on the NHS if the country voted out.

Theresa May lunges the UK ever closer to a no deal Brexit. But it’s emerged that “no deal planning” has cost £4bn.

In the meantime, austerity bites deeper everyday and schools and our NHS face a deepening crisis.

The next generation

The vast sums spent on Brexit come against news that 4.1 million children now live in poverty. In working families, this rose from 67% to 70% in the past year. Research published by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) also revealed that:

Children in low-income families suffer social exclusion and a sense of shame because they do not have enough food to eat.

On 2 April, the National Education Union (NEU) delivered an open letter to education secretary Damian Hinds, warning of the continued cuts to schools funding:

In support, shadow education minister Angela Rayner said:

cuts have consequences, and it is a disgrace that in one of the richest countries in the world teachers are being forced to beg parents for money to pay for basic supplies and schools are forced to close early due to lack of funds.

Others, meanwhile, pointed out how many people would benefit from the £5.5m spent just on Brexit consultants:

“Grotesque”

One doctor called the amount spent on no deal planning “grotesque”. She pointed out what that money could fund in the NHS:

Meanwhile, the government ordered NHS hospitals:

not to tell the public about any damage they expect to suffer from Brexit because it would hurt “commercial interests”.

As Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation thinktank, explained, the NHS “is already short of 100,000 doctors, nurses and other staff”. And now a report from the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned the NHS will “rapidly reach crisis point”. MPs highlighted dangers if the NHS “continues to lose staff and fails to attract more overseas workers because of Brexit”.

Despite austerity and savage cuts, it seems that the Tories can find billions to fund their Brexit chaos. Yet children, many other vulnerable people in the UK, and everyone who relies on the NHS all face an even bigger crisis daily.

Featured image via Flickr – Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us