NHS Spending

Part of EU Nationals in the Uk – in the House of Commons at 6:02 pm on 6th July 2016.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Secretary of State for Health 6:02 pm, 6th July 2016

I beg to move,

That this House
notes that the Vote Leave group during the EU referendum campaign claimed that an extra £350 million a week could be spent on the NHS in lieu of the UK’s EU membership contribution;
further notes that senior figures who campaigned, including the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire, the hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip and the Rt hon. Member for Surrey Heath have subsequently distanced themselves from that claim;
and calls on the Government to set out proposals for additional NHS funding, as suggested by the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire on 4 July 2016.

It is a pleasure once again to face the Secretary of State for Health.

Nobody can doubt that much of the case that was made by the Vote Leave EU campaign was based on assertions that have since crumbled. For instance, within hours of the vote to leave the European Union, the Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan, said that taking back control of immigration did not necessarily mean cutting it. That will have been news to millions of people who voted to leave.

We also heard that there was no hurry to get on with leaving the EU. Why then the urgency of the campaign? The most striking reversal of all came from Nigel Farage. Within hours of the vote, he said that it was a mistake for the Vote Leave campaign to claim that leaving the EU would mean £350 million a week more for the NHS. Some of us were surprised by that, because this was no ordinary campaign slogan; it was painted on the side of the Vote Leave battle bus, which travelled thousands of miles up and down the country. It was emblazoned on the backdrop to speeches by the luminaries of the Vote Leave campaign. The British public is entitled to ask: where is the £350 million a week and when can we expect to see the Government start pumping that new money into our NHS? We all know about the financial and other pressures already facing the NHS.