Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
15 August 2016

Owen Smith attacks “secret Tory plan“ to privatise the NHS

Smith has pledged to increase NHS spending by 4 per cent a year.

By Julia Rampen

The Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith is to attack a “secret plan to privatise the NHS” in a speech on Monday. 

His claims are based on the 2016-17 NHS regulator’s business plan, which said the private sector had been “underutilised” and “independent sector providers” needed to be encouraged.

Ahead of his speech, Smith said the new prime minister Theresa May had given “the green light” to NHS privatisation: “The NHS is our country’s most valued institution – and people will be shocked to hear that the Tories have been putting together a secret plan to privatise it.”
 
He added: “We all rightly contribute to the NHS through our taxes – but we must make sure that money is spent on doctors and nurses, and not lining the pockets of private sector shareholders.”

Smith’s views on the NHS have come under scrutiny because of his background as a former policy chief for the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Amgen.

But he has insisted he has always believed in a publicly funded service, and describes the father of the NHS, Nye Bevan, as a “great hero”.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • 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
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

In his speech, Smith will pledge to halt Tory health reforms, and boost NHS spending by at least 4 per cent a year.

Meanwhile, Smith’s rival for the top job, Jeremy Corbyn, spent Saturday speaking at a campaign rally in Milton Keynes. He also backs more spending on the NHS.

He is due to address a rally focused on black and minority ethnic issues in north London on Monday afternoon.