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Cameron challenged over NHS pledge


Prime minister David Cameron was accused last night of breaking the coalition’s pledge to increase funding for the NHS as soaring inflation threatened to undermine the government’s spending plans.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the government was now “sailing extremely close to the wind” over its promise to raise NHS spending in real terms every year of the current parliament.

The IFS said the worsening economic outlook meant there was now a 30% chance chancellor George Osborne would have to put up taxes or find further spending cuts if he was to meet his deficit reduction plans.

Labour went further arguing that Mr Osborne would have to find another £1.8bn over the course of the next four years if the government was to honour its commitments on the NHS.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley, however, insisted that the government would meet its pledge and accused the opposition of spreading “scare stories”.

Labour meanwhile published figures that showed a real terms cut of around 1% in NHS spending over the next four years.

Shadow health secretary John Healey said that if the “double counting” of social care budgets as NHS spending was taken into account, the NHS in England was facing a cut of £1.8 billion - a 1.8% real terms reduction.

“Real terms spending will fall next year and again the year after, and this will in fact be the first time since records began that the NHS in England has seen a real terms fall in spending for two years running,” he said.

“If you add in his trick of double counting social care budgets, David Cameron is cutting the NHS by a massive £1.8bn.”

However, Mr Lansley said that the government was investing £11.5bn in the NHS which Labour had opposed.

“John Healey continues to use the NHS as a political football to spread scare stories that do not hold up to scrutiny,” he said.

“We will increase the NHS budget in real terms every year - and the independent experts have already confirmed that this is happening.”

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Readers' comments (10)

  • bullsh*t its all sweetners strike while the iron is hot its like 1p off petrol within 10mins 2p was put back on its all political and patents lives if we were all nurses and think of our patents lives we would strike patents will all ways be looked after by someone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • would it not be a good idea to have a direct taxation for healthcare so that everybody knows exactly what they are spending and why? it seems to me that this would be a far fairer system and realistically based on the needs of the services and need not necessarily be must more costly than the present system.
    or is this a naive idea of mine?

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  • do they really understand what they are doing or are they just too naive and inexperienced to be in government?

    we now need Cameron's response to this challenge which hopefully will also be published here asap

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  • Why is it so hard to understand, if they cut the NHS budget and slash Nursing staff, PEOPLE WILL DIE!!!!! It is that simple! Health and medical care is not something a society can do without when times are tough! It is an ESSENTIAL part of society!!!

    So cut money where it needs to be cut Cameron (start with overseas aid, MP expenses, benefit cheats, etc etc) but leave public services alone!

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  • The Government have got to get rid of the increasing population somehow, to reduce bed occupancy and payment of pensions, etc. Was there no foresight following the 1950/60s baby boom. No .. that's too easy. NHS and Government deal with short term fixes, not long term plans, that's why we are having to 'accept' increasing retirement age..and on and on..

    They are not able to implement the Chinese concept of limiting births to 1-2, this would be an invasion of European human rights.

    Erring towards the end of my NHS career, and continuous education/learning (or becoming more aware), research-based care is overridded by NICE if it costs too much.

    Listen carefully to the jargon.. bed blockers, outliers, what happened to 'people?'...gone, gone, gone..

    Keep the cheap booze (modest increases) and fags available, huge revenue from taxes to the government alive, make the population feel responsible and guilty at the same time. We are being coerced into privatisation and a blame culture.

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  • I think the average birthrate in China was 1.5 children! I found this so funny (queer) that it became the target size of my ideal family, which I unfortunately did not manage to fulfill!
    This Chinese law obviously made sense because it must be far easier to prevent the human race from sprouting forth than to eliminate an unwanted part of it later en masse without having to appear before the court of human rights in Europe which could result in a long and drawn out trial which in turn might difficult for any government to face and would most probably lead to further damage to the economy.

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  • where is C's response to this challenge over the nhs pledge?

    it should be published here too.

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  • CUTS!!! Hmmmm!!! Goodness me the so called WAR joining up with ALQUEDA REBELS is Costing more than public services money. Can they explain joining up with REBELS for me or ARE they the TRUE REBELS themselves? Seems so to me the true REBELS are these GUYS: Cameron and Lansley and the rest!!!!

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  • Anonymous | 26-Mar-2011 9:04 am

    OMG get real, can you imagine those restictions being imposed in the uk?

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  • Who is OMG? and where is your sense of humour? my comments were merely following on from the previous comment which is also unrealistic but amusing!

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