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  1. ITV Report

Hammond: Pressures on NHS and social care not 'just about money'

Philip Hammond declined to confirm a funding boost for the NHS or social care. Credit: Peston on Sunday

Amid calls for the government to increase funding for NHS and social care, the Chancellor has insisted pressures are due to "demographic factors" and not just money.

Speaking on ITV's Peston on Sunday, Philip Hammond said: "We know some of our public services are under pressure but the pressure that they are under is due to long-term factors, demographic factors."

"We have to address the sustainability of our public services over the long-term. We've got to look at the underlying challenges and issues here, not just rush around dealing with short-term pressures."

Tens of thousands demonstrated in London on Saturday about the future of the NHS. Credit: PA

When asked about reports that he has found an additional £1bn for social care, Mr Hammond declined to confirm a funding boost.

But he stressed: "We recognise that there are pressures in the social care system and that those pressures are having an effect on the way the NHS works but it isn't just about money."

"We've got 24 local authorities responsible for 50% of all the delayed discharges in the NHS. We've got some areas where collaboration between the NHS and social care is working extremely well.

"So it's about spreading best practice, it's about dealing with the weak spots, it isn't just about pouring money in."

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The Chancellor also defended his warning that there will be no "spending sprees"in the Budget and need for fiscal discipline.

Writing in The Sunday Times, Mr Hammond had dismissed calls for "massive borrowing" as "reckless and unsustainable".

This is in despite forecasts that the UK economy growth is better than expected, Mr Hammond insisted: " We shouldn't mistake any short-term change in the borrowing figures due to one-off factors for a long-term structural change."

"Somebody gives you a bit more headroom on your credit card it doesn't mean you have to rush out and spend it all at once," he added.

Earlier, the shadow chancellor John McDonnell urged the government to bring "fairness back into our economy"to help raise what he referred to as living standards that have "eroded"

He also called for increased investment in the NHS and social care, making reference to independent estimates "of between £8 and 12bn".

  • Hammond 'not surprised' by EU positioning on Brexit bill

In the wide-ranging interview, the Chancellor also insisted suggestions the UK is facing a large Brexit bill amounts to political positioning from the European Union, ahead of the triggering of the formal withdrawal process.

It has been reported that the European Commission's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is seeking a 60 billion euro (£52 billion) from Britain.

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"If there are any outstanding dues we are obliged to pay of course we will pay them," he told Robert Peston.

"We're on the brink of a negotiation and I'm really not surprised, in fact I would be surprised if people in the European Union weren't putting down very large numbers."

"This is positioning ahead of a negotiation and we should see it for exactly what it is," Mr Hammond added.