Labour had made a complaint to the UK Statistical Authority to look into claims made by David Cameron and the Health Minister that NHS spending had gone up in real terms. The watchdog has found the best-available Treasury data suggested real-terms health spending was in fact lower in 2011-12 than in 2009-10.
To the confirmation from the watchdog that the NHS funding was lower in real terms in 2011/12 than in 2009/10, Andy Burnham responded:
“David Cameron famously promised he would cut the deficit, not the NHS. We now have it in black and white: he is cutting the NHS, not the deficit. There could be no clearer evidence of the failure of this Prime Minister and his Government.
For months, David Cameron’s Government have made misleading boasts about NHS spending, misrepresenting the true financial difficulties he has brought upon the NHS. At the same time they have recently begun to try to distance themselves from these problems which David Cameron has created, trying to shift the blame to the NHS and its staff.
The Prime Minister must come to the House of Commons at the earliest opportunity and correct the record. He has been found out. He has cut the NHS budget for two years running and he owes it to patients and NHS staff to be honest about that.
This mismatch between David Cameron’s promises and the reality on the ground cannot be allowed to continue. These real-terms cuts explain why the Care Quality Commission recently found that 16 per cent of hospitals in England do not have adequate staffing levels; why over 7,000 nursing jobs have been lost on David Cameron’s watch – one thousand in the last month alone; and why hospitals are dangerously full.
This must be a hard lesson for this Prime Minister. He might be able to airbrush a poster, but he can’t manipulate the statistics and expect to get away with it.”
- Ministers rebuked on NHS spending (bbc.co.uk)
- Government’s own statistics watchdog rebukes Cameron and Hunt over spending claims (independent.co.uk)