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Osborne: Govt will use £1.1bn forex fines to boost NHS funding

Chancellor George Osborne has promised to use more than £1bn in bank fines to boost funding for the National Health Service and improve “frontline health services.”

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Osborne said the £1.1bn in fines levied following the foreign exchange rate-rigging scandal will be allocated to improving GP services and other health services in the UK.

The pledge, to be formally announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday, follows calls from NHS bosses for an extra £2bn in funding to cope with budgetary pressures on the health system.

Osborne said: “Because we have a strong economy and we’ve got the public finances under control, we can afford to put £2bn into the frontline of the NHS across the United Kingdom.

“I can tell you we can go further and use those fines that have been paid by the banks for a permanent improvement in general practitioner services. This is a down-payment on the NHS’s own long-term plan and it shows you can have a strong NHS if you have a strong economy.”

Last month, the FCA handed out its largest ever fines totalling £1.1bn over the forex rate manipulation. Citibank was fined £226m, HSBC was fined £216m, JP Morgan £222m, Royal Bank of Scotland £217m and UBS £234m.

Following the fines, shadow Chancellor Ed Balls called on the Treasury to invest the funds into the NHS.

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Not that I have ant grudge against the NHS, its a very worthy recipient of further funding

    But to use fine money is just not fair !!

    Firstly it should go to FSCS to compensate those who have been wronged, then to lower industry costs which seem to be spiralling out of control, then fund his bloody pension advice guarantee !!

    I know this will win him extra votes on face value but people need to realise the good just keep shelling out for the bad IE-: me, and most importantly, my clients.

  2. It’s difficult, in principal at least, to begrudge FCA fines being applied to support servicemen and woman injured in the line of duty (setting aside the question of whether or not the presence of the British armed forces in Irag and Afghanistan has made any tangible difference). However, the totality of those with which a number of major institutions have been hit in recent times is such that one would think at least some of it could be channelled towards funding the At Retirement Guidance Guarantee, not least in the direction of the hard-pressed and funding-starved CAB. FCA fines seem to have become another cash cow for the government and it would be interesting to know just how much of them are actually being applied in the manner stated by the government.

  3. Agree with Julian – the CAB do a fantastic job and have had their funding cut at exactly the same time as more people are being drvien to using their services.

  4. Unfortunately, this is very much as some of us predicted.

    They started by claiming that the redirection of fines would be to support “our boys” – despite the incredulity of most of us at the thought the boys would go without in the absence of financial misconduct.. Now we’re on to using the fines to “support the NHS”.

    In time, no doubt we’ll see it being spent on a myriad of things people might have expected the Government to pay for anyway. Maybe it’ll be billed as schools. Or a bonus for pensioners. Or maybe they’ll start being a bit more blatant and say they’re using it for routine welfare, street lighting, MP’s expenses, 5-a-day co-ordinators and street-naming executives. Or just debt interest. Or to pay the EU.

    However they spin it, we need to remember that money is fungible – that £1bn “for the NHS” might as well be the £1bn for any of the lower priority/less popular stuff that they’d have had to cut otherwise to pay for political priorities like the NHS (or ‘our boys’) in the absence of these fines. It all amounts to the same thing: a source of revenue (usually known as ‘tax’) into the overall pot of Government spending – albeit one ultimately paid by the intermediary sector paying higher levies.

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