Health Minister and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb’s claim that the government is increasing spending on the NHS in the past two years has been questioned by the Statistics Authority, after they upheld a complaint by Labour.
The ONS found the best-available Treasury data suggested real-terms health spending was lower in 2011-12 than in 2009-10, but Mr Lamb has claimed in the media that there was an increase in spending and that they were not cutting the NHS.
The government promised at the start of parliament a “guarantee that health spending increases in real terms in each year of the Parliament”.
Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, said that health spending was actually lower in 2011-12 than in 2009-10 and has written to the Department of Health to ask them to clarify their claims.
North Norfolk Labour Party believes this is yet another example of a broken promise from the government.
Denise Burke, chair of North Norfolk Labour Party, said:
“The government promised to cut the deficit, not the NHS, but they are doing the opposite. Borrowing is rising while NHS spending is decreasing.
Norman Lamb continues to blame everyone but himself for what is going on under his watch in the health department. We are losing ambulances across the county and we now know spending in the NHS is decreasing. What’s worse is at the same time NHS spending is going on a costly reorganisation.
After two and a half years in government the buck stops here for Norman Lamb – it is his votes of support that has allowed this to happen.”
Andy Burnham, shadow health secretary, said:
“For months, David Cameron’s government have made misleading boasts about NHS spending, misrepresenting the true financial difficulties he has brought upon the NHS.
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.”