The Chancellor’s political manoeuvring has real consequences. The drama over Budget week has clouded a further astounding revelation about his behaviour.
His former Government colleague, David Laws, revealed at the weekend that the Chancellor pressurised senior officials to reduce their estimates of the funding needed to maintain the NHS. We discovered that the Chancellor had forced through a cut of almost half the funding—this was independently assessed—needed by the NHS. The result is that the NHS and hospital trusts around the country cannot plan. They are facing a crisis: waiting times are rising, staff are under intense pressure and morale is at rock bottom. At the start of the year, the NHS recorded its worst ever performance as services struggled to cope with demand. It is now facing its biggest funding crisis for a generation and that is putting patient care at risk.