20:34 GMT +323 January 2020
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    LONDON (Sputnik) - UK government allocates an additional one-time funding of 1.8 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) to modernize hospitals and the National Health Service (NHS), the office of the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.

    "Today I’m announcing an extra £1.8 billion for the NHS – that means more beds, better care and lives saved", Johnson said, as quoted by his office.

    These funds will be used to modernize about 20 hospitals. In addition, capital expenditures on the health system as a whole will be increased, the prime minister's office noted. More than a billion pounds of the newly announced funding will be spent in the current fiscal year, it added.

    Additional funding is above 33.9 billion pounds allocated annually from the NHS budget in accordance with a long-term program approved last year.

    The news comes almost a week after UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid has announced that additional 2.1 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) were earmarked to prepare the country for a no-deal Brexit.

    Meanwhile, London has already allocated 6.3 billion pounds for Brexit preparations, including 4.2 billion made available this financial year.

    In his first speech as prime minister, Boris Johnson vowed to leave the European Union by the 31 October deadline. He also added that while London would work to secure a new and "better" deal with Brussels, preparations for a potential no-deal Brexit would be necessary if "Brussels refuses any further to negotiate".

    Johnson said in June that the chances for no-deal Brexit were a "million-to-one against".

    Johnson has been also calling on the European Commission to drop a clause that seeks to avoid a hard Irish border by tying the country to the EU customs union, despite Brussels saying it will not reopen the talks on the Brexit deal.

    UK citizens voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Brexit was originally scheduled for late March, but UK lawmakers failed to endorse the deal agreed upon by London and Brussels, so the deadline was moved to 31 October. The failure to deliver the withdrawal made Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May, to step down.

    According to US Goldman Sachs investment bank, Brexit reportedly cost the United Kingdom about $785 million per week since the 2016 referendum that sealed the country's fate to exit the European bloc.


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