Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
  2. Economics
2 December 2014updated 24 Jul 2021 2:56am

Labour accuses George Osborne of “spin” over NHS spending

The shadow health secretary Andy Burnham accuses the Chancellor of "recycling" funds for health spending.

By Anoosh Chakelian

“I’m afraid there is no money” seems to be the unofficial tagline for George Osborne’s Autumn Statement this year, echoing former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne’s parting billet-doux to his successor in 2010.

This is because the Chancellor doesn’t seem to be planning to spend any new money on the funding announcements he will make tomorrow. Nowhere is this starker than on the NHS.

He will give the health service a £2bn annual funding boost, but it has emerged that £750m of this spending is being reallocated from within the Department of Health itself. The rest of the money will come from the Treasury (£1.3bn), efficiency savings, and under-spending in other Whitehall departments.

This shifting around and scraping of funds for the NHS makes the Tories vulnerable to Labour’s strength on the subject. Labour is consistently trusted more than their opponents on the NHS, and it seems the party’s consequential plan to make NHS the key battleground of the imminent general election is gaining some ground, much to the Tories’ disadvantage.

The party has been able to accuse Osborne of “spin”, and the shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has said his plan was based on “proposing to recycle funds”. He added that the country and its health service deserves better than, “a chancellor fiddling the figures and a Health Secretary spinning the facts”.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday - from the New Statesman. Sign up directly at The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. Sign up directly at Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Although the extra money has been welcomed by leading health figures, such as NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens, the Labour party still seems to dominate the political narrative on the subject. The fact remains that all parties must have a plan for plugging the funding gap in the ailing health service, but the more the Conservatives try to find solutions, the more they are open to a hammering from Labour.

Content from our partners
Planetary perspectives: how data can transform disaster response and preparation
How measurement can help turn businesses’ sustainability goals into action
How UK ports are unlocking green growth