Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:54 pm on 13th September 2017.

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Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Conservative, North Dorset 3:54 pm, 13th September 2017

My right hon. Friend is correct, but the Labour party does not like truth spoken unto opposition. Let us hope that we never have to speak truth unto Labour in power, because that would be even worse.

There is a false debate where GPs and pharmacists are in essence private businesses delivering healthcare and advice to our constituents free at the point of use. I think the mindset in the national debate has moved on beyond the cosy intellectual rigour of north Islington, and most people are just keen to enjoy a quality service that is delivered by motivated people in a safe and secure environment. That is at the heart of our policies.

There is clearly fluidity and movement on the pay cap, which is welcome. I used the word “cruelty” a moment ago. When its economy came under pressure, Ireland coped with the management of its health budget by making a vast number of health service workers unemployed. That is one way of dealing with it, but it is not the right way. We have done it the right way, and we are grateful for the forbearance of those at the sharp end. It has not been done out of cruelty or out of intellectual or ideological purity; it has been done out of financial and economic necessity.

As our economy grows, so will the pay packets of those working in our vital public services. I know it is boring, and I know it is an inconvenient truth for the Opposition, but without a strong economy, without people in work, without business confidence and without people paying taxes, it would be an absolute sham to continue funding unsustainable pay increases and the like through borrowing, because that would just lead to cuts and further ruin.