Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:31 pm on 13th September 2017.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health 1:31 pm, 13th September 2017

I want to make some progress on the recruitment issues, which a number of hon. Members have raised. The argument we seem to be hearing from the shadow Health Secretary is that Labour’s policies would mean more nurses for the NHS and better care for patients, but nothing is further from the truth. Let us look at Labour’s policies at the last election. What did the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies say then about Labour’s spending plans? It said there was a black hole of up to £29 billion, which made even Gordon Brown look like the paragon of prudence that he never was. How can a black hole like that be filled? There are only two ways of doing it. The first is by raising taxes on ordinary people—this is what the IFS said would be one of the biggest tax increases in the past 30 years, equivalent to a 7% increase in income tax. For a nurse on average earnings, this would be a £1,400 tax hike every year. Alternatively, the hole could be filled by increasing borrowing, but that simply passes on debts to future generations in a con as explicit as the con of telling students before an election that their debt will be waived only to cancel the promise after the election.