Briefing Note (BN21)

How much would it cost to increase UK health spending to the European average?

Date: 01 January 2002
DOI: 10.1920/bn.ifs.2002.0021
Since the November 2001 Pre-Budget Report, there has been much speculation surrounding how much the UK spends on health and how much more it would need to spend in order to reach the average level of spending seen across European Union countries. An aspiration to increase UK health spending to the average European level was first made by the Prime Minister in January 2000.2 In addition, the Labour Party manifesto states that ѯver time we will bring UK health spending up to the EU averageҮ More recently, the Prime Minister has confirmed that he would like to see UK health spending reach the European average by 2005.3 This short note compares the level of health spending in the UK with that overseas and discusses how much more the UK is likely to need to spend on health if it is to meet the Prime Minister's stated target.