National Health Service

Part of Opposition Day — [14th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:41 pm on 21st January 2015.

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Photo of Mark Reckless Mark Reckless UKIP, Rochester and Strood 4:41 pm, 21st January 2015

It proves nothing of the sort. The hon. Gentleman faces a very strong challenge from UKIP in his constituency from the excellent Bill Etheridge MEP. The policy of our party—[Interruption.] No, let me answer the point. Our policy is determined by our party as a whole. We are committed to an NHS free at the point of use and funded properly out of general taxation. [Interruption.] May I continue? I personally come from a mother and father who met in the NHS; the NHS and supporting it is in my blood. I believe in the NHS as I have described it, and I would appreciate the courtesy of people accepting the sincerity of what I say on that.

I am pleased to see the shadow Secretary of State still in his place as he has been throughout the debate, but when it comes to funding the social care budget, it is a moving target to determine what that budget is. We know the local government settlement for the year ahead, but not for beyond that. We do not know what either a Conservative-led or Labour-led Government might be able to, or choose to, spend on local government, or what proportion might be allocated to public health budgets. It thus strikes me as a significant risk to say, without greater clarity, “This is what the budget will be, plus the sum of £2.5 billion”—the figure selected by the shadow Health Secretary and his party, irrespective of what the baseline is.