Posts Tagged ‘National Statistics Authority’

Vox Political on the Tories Empty Pledge for Extra NHS Funding

April 13, 2015

On Saturday, the Tories declared that they were going to add an extra £8 billion to the NHS budget by 2020 if they are returned. When pressed by Andrew Marr on his show about where the money would come from, George Osborne repeatedly refused to say, and instead gave evasive non-answers about the state of the economy instead. He also gave assurances that it had all been correctly costed, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Labour have released a video of this section of the interview, which the good Mr Pride has put on his blog. He had accompanied it with a clip from the classic Newsnight interview, when Paxo repeatedly asked Michael Howard a question, which the then head of the Tories refused to answer, and hummed, ha-ed, and bluffed instead.

Mike over at Vox Political has also posted his critique of Osborne’s claims in the post ‘Tory NHS pledge is ‘fantasy funding’’. This begins

The Conservative Party must be getting very desperate indeed.

Faced with the failure of the plan to belittle Ed Miliband, the Tories are making a belated attempt to take some of Labour’s policy ground with a promise to provide £8 billion extra, every year, for the NHS.

From where?

The Conservatives have already told us they will be squeezing the economy by (at least) £30 billion over the next five years – if they remain in office. The National Health Service is ring-fenced from those cuts, we are told, but that hasn’t prevented real-terms funding from falling during most – if not all – of the Parliament that has just ended.

The Tories had no intention of adding funds to the NHS – or at least, they didn’t until today.

Despite claims that the health service in England alone needs another £8 billion in order to cope (the shortfall is £30 billion but NHS boss Simon Stevens reckons “efficiency savings” – cuts – will cover £22 billion of it), the Conservative Party had been hoping to keep it quiet and let the public service quietly starve while private, profit-making firms strip it of its most lucrative sources of funding; the services that attract the most money.

Like the plan to attack Miliband, this was a mistake; Labour has campaigned forthrightly on the needs of the NHS and the public has responded strongly.

So the Tories have wheeled out Jeremy ‘Misprint’ Hunt to announce a funding commitment that they don’t have the ability to honour.

It is exactly the kind of fiscal ineptitude of which they were accusing Labour, before the other party publicised its fully-funded plans for government.

Mike also refutes Hunt’s claim that the Tories have increased funding to the NHS. They haven’t. As the table from the National Statistics Authority shows, it’s actually been below intended funding, not above.

He also shows Hunt’s claim that the Tories have turned the economy around to be equally mendacious. Well, not exactly. Not if you believe the exact opposite of what they’ve said. They claimed that Labour had produced the depression, and that now, thanks to them, the economy is expanding. In fact, the economy was growing thanks to Alistair Darling. The Tories, on the other hand, have managed to shrink the economy.

Mike therefore concludes that What we’re seeing is fantasy funding – building castles – or rather, hospitals – in the air.

Judging the Tories on their record, they certainly won’t be improving health here on the ground.

Mike’s article can be read at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/04/11/tory-nhs-pledge-is-fantasy-funding/

In fact, as I commented on my reblog of Tom Pride’s post about this, there is a way to increased effective funding of the NHS and make massive savings: cut out the waste of money that is the Private Finance Initiative, the internal market and the outsourcing of NHS treatment to private firms. The bureaucracy involved in this waste’s billions, as well as causing massive inefficiency and waste.

On the other hand, it does provide a nice, juicy income to Tory donors, and the private healthcare firms which 92 Tories and Lib Dem MPs either own, or are employed in. Cameron, IDS and Clegg really won’t want to upset them, especially as they might need to find a few more jobs after the election.