NHS Pay

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:06 pm on 13th September 2017.

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Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng Conservative, Spelthorne 3:06 pm, 13th September 2017

That was a fair intervention, but I completely disagree with the hon. Lady’s point. The deficit had nothing to do with the then Secretary of State for Health. It was not the previous Secretary of State for Health who caused the £160 billion deficit the Government inherited in 2010. Naturally, when running a huge deficit—I think it was something like 12% of GDP—one has to find savings in the budget. The question I pose to Labour Members is, how would they find the extra money? There are only two ways to do that: the Government can either raise the money through taxation, or the Chancellor has to borrow the money. It is very unclear to me what the Labour party proposes to do to increase the pay of public sector workers. No doubt it will have a plan to increase it by 5% or 10%—I do not know by exactly how much it wants to put up public sector pay—but it would have to fund that. I looked at the Labour election manifesto and I think it spent the tax on people earning over £80,000 about 10 times over to fund their various projects and policies.

We cannot go on kidding ourselves and kidding the British people. I very much like the point made by the right hon. Member for North Norfolk about the fact that we have to be serious about how we are going to fund the NHS and social care provision. He described current model as—his word—unsustainable. I do not share that view—I think we can fund the NHS adequately for the rest of the Parliament—but his general message was right. It does not make any sense for Labour Members to scream, holler and shout about Tory cuts without having a serious proposal.