Common Purpose Liar David Cameron breaks another election pledge this time on the NHS

David Cameron breaks election pledge to increase NHS spending, figures show

Nicholas Cecil
06 July 2012

David Cameron has broken a flagship pledge to increase NHS spending, official figures reveal today.

Expenditure on the health service fell by about £26 million last year despite the promise in the Coalition agreement to increase it. The failure is highly embarrassing for the Government and was immediately seized on by Labour.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “At the election David Cameron made promises on the NHS he knew he wouldn’t keep.

“He cynically promised to give the NHS more money, but today it’s clear he’s cut its budget for the second year running.”

But the Government was still insisting that the NHS budget had been increased and that the fall in expenditure was due to underspends and the way public services inflation is measured.

The Department of Health said that spending on frontline services had risen by £3.4 billion last year in cash terms, while the bureaucracy bill had fallen by £1 billion and the IT bill by £400 million.

NHS spending was due to have risen by £100 million in 2011/12 but the inflation adjustment meant it had fallen, according to NHS sources.

Health Minister Simon Burns insisted: “This Government has met its promise to provide a real-terms increase in the health budget.”

Spending on the NHS fell by 0.02 per cent — a very small proportion, yet breaking the promise. Mr Cameron pledged at the 2010 election to increase NHS spending as he sought to defuse the charge that the health service would not be safe in Conservative hands.

The DoH today that the “NHS is in robust financial health” despite the small fall in spending. Primary care trusts and strategic health authorities had reported a surplus of £1.6 billion, it added, which would be carried forward and made available in 2012/13. A spokesman said: “This represents a three per cent increase in funding available to the NHS relative to last year.”

But many hospitals are under intense pressure because of the rising cost of treatments and increased demand.

In London, a number of casualty and maternity units are being closed, and other services being reconfigured, as part of reforms designed to improve the quality of care and save billions.

But critics say patient safety is being put at risk and that they will have to travel further for treatment.

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