Cameron breaks his NHS spending pledge

Spending on the health service was cut by £766m last year.

Earlier this week, I revealed that David Cameron had betrayed his pledge to protect Sure Start, now he's broken another key election promise.

The PM has repeatedly said that spending on the health service will rise in "real terms" in each year of this Parliament. But figures from the Treasury (see Table 1.9) show that the NHS spent £101,985m from April 2010 to April 2011, down from £102,751m the previous year, and a real-terms cut of £766m.

George Osborne's ostensible defence is that the year in question - 2010-11 - was the final year of Labour's 2007 spending review. But as Ed Balls has just pointed out in a letter to the Chancellor, "[U]nder our plans NHS spending was to be £106.6 billion in 2010-11 ... You have actually spent just £102.0 billion."

In fairness, the coalition is on track to meet its pledge this year (see Table 1.9) with spending set to rise in real-terms from £101,985m to £103,026m. However, spending will then fall back to £102,861m the following year (2012-13). David Cameron is fond of boasting that the NHS budget will rise in cash terms by £12.5bn but what he forgets is that much of this increase be swallowed up by inflation. The purchasing power of the NHS will be progressively reduced as the price of drugs and equipment continues to rise.

The real question now is whether the coalition will abandon its pledge or instead raise extra funding for the NHS, either through tax rises or through even greater cuts elsewhere.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Appreciate the full horror of Nigel Farage's pro-Trump speech

The former Ukip leader has appeared at a Donald Trump rally. It went exactly as you would expect.

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce Nigel Farage is at it again.

The on-again, off-again Ukip leader and current Member of the European Parliament has appeared at a Donald Trump rally to lend his support to the presidential candidate.

It was, predictably, distressing.

Farage started by telling his American audience why they, like he, should be positive.

"I come to you from the United Kingdom"

Okay, good start. Undeniably true.

"– with a message of hope –

Again, probably quite true.

Image: Clearly hopeful (Wikipedia Screenshot)

– and optimism.”

Ah.

Image: Nigel Farage in front of a poster showing immigrants who are definitely not European (Getty)

He continues: “If the little people, if the real people–”

Wait, what?

Why is Trump nodding sagely at this?

The little people?

Image: It's a plane with the name Trump on it (Wikimedia Commons)

THE LITTLE PEOPLE?

Image: It's the word Trump on the side of a skyscraper I can't cope with this (Pixel)

THE ONLY LITTLE PERSON CLOSE TO TRUMP IS RIDING A MASSIVE STUFFED LION

Image: I don't even know what to tell you. It's Trump and his wife and a child riding a stuffed lion. 

IN A PENTHOUSE

A PENTHOUSE WHICH LOOKS LIKE LIBERACE WAS LET LOOSE WITH THE GILT ON DAY FIVE OF A PARTICULARLY BAD BENDER

Image: So much gold. Just gold, everywhere.

HIS WIFE HAS SO MANY BAGS SHE HAS TO EMPLOY A BAG MAN TO CARRY THEM

Image: I did not even know there were so many styles of Louis Vuitton, and my dentists has a lot of old copies of Vogue.

Anyway. Back to Farage, who is telling the little people that they can win "against the forces of global corporatism".

 

Image: Aaaaarggghhhh (Wikipedia Screenshot)

Ugh. Okay. What next? Oh god, he's telling them they can have a Brexit moment.

“... you can beat Washington...”

“... if enough decent people...”

“...are prepared to stand up against the establishment”

Image: A screenshot from Donald Trump's Wikipedia page.

I think I need a lie down.

Watch the full clip here:

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland