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Minister warns 'not to count chickens' over money pledged to NHS by Brexiteers

Published 29/09/2016

Leave campaigners pledged to use money for the EU to fund the NHS
Leave campaigners pledged to use money for the EU to fund the NHS

The NHS should not "count any chickens" when it comes to getting the £350 million promised by Brexiteers during the referendum campaign, a health minister has said.

Philip Dunne said the pledge was not something "any health ministers were part of", in the latest twist to one of the most controversial pledges of the campaign.

The Leave campaign bus had a slogan emblazoned on it which said Britain sent £350 million to the EU every week - and we should fund the NHS instead.

A number of Leave campaigners have since rowed back from the pledge.

Mr Dunne told House magazine: "Obviously every department across Government will make a pitch for some of that money.

"So I don't think we should be counting any chickens at this stage.

"There will be an election in 2020, and it will be at that point that the Chancellor will decide what happens to that money.

"None of the health ministers today were part of that specific pledge and I think we're going to have to take that one year by year."

Mr Dunne also urged the Government to reassure current NHS staff from other EU countries about their future after Brexit.

He said: "One of the things I would say about our current membership of the European Union is that we have over 50,000 EU citizens employed in the NHS.

"There's a similar number of non-EU nationals working in the NHS too.

"So it's very important that we ensure that we reassure those existing employees in the NHS about the Brexit negotiation."

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