Labour has accused the chancellor of failing patients due to planned cuts to day-to-day spending in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Written Budget documents revealed that there is a planned cut of £30 billion in day-to-day spending from April of this year, falling from £199.2 billion to £169.1 billion.
NHS England will see funding fall from £147.7 billion to £139.1 billion from next year, unless ministers commit to more funding for the health service.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth accused Rishi Sunak of failing “patients, our NHS and its staff” in Wednesday’s Budget, as analysis by the opposition party found that waiting lists have hit a “record high”.
Research by Labour found that the number of patients waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment has increased by more than 500% over the last decade, while almost a quarter of a million people are waiting more than a year for treatment.
The party said that an estimated 4.6 million people are currently on the waiting list for treatment – the highest number on record.
Ashworth said: “The chancellor is failing patients, our NHS and its staff by cutting frontline services during a pandemic.
“With lists already at a record high, this will mean patients waiting even longer in pain for vital treatment.
“Yesterday’s Budget papered over the cracks rather than rebuilding the foundations of our country.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the public would be “pretty astonished” by the findings.
Speaking at the Royal Derby Hospital, which he said was “still struggling with Covid cases”, he said: “What’s coming next is the backlog of cases – 4.5 million people on waiting lists, understandably not been dealt with in the last year, so the NHS is going to have a really hard year and I think most people will be pretty astonished that the funding is being cut.”
Pascale Robinson, one of the We Own It campaigners fighting to keep the NHS in public hands, said: “As we start the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, our NHS is still in crisis. There is a huge backlog of patients to deal with and waiting lists for elective procedures are incredibly long.
“This is a moment when the government should be investing massively in the NHS to guarantee that people get the care that they need and our precious NHS can recover from the unprecedented shock of Covid. Instead, the government is cutting spending on health and social care by a staggering £30 billion.
“All this shows is that the government is happy to splash the cash when it can hand giant contracts to private companies and friends of the Conservative Party, but won’t give our NHS the funding it desperately needs. The government should reverse this jaw-dropping cut immediately, and fund the future of our NHS and the health of the nation.”
Boris Johnson claimed the government has already invested “huge quantities” into health and social care throughout the coronavirus pandemic
The prime minister, speaking to reporters on a visit to Teesport, added: “And I think the whole country is massively grateful to healthcare workers and social care workers for what they have done.
“About £52 billion went into the NHS just to help cope with the pandemic, £1.5 billion into social care, and £35 billion to support local councils in all sorts of ways.”