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It was a valiant effort, but the hon. Gentleman could not get away from the truth in British politics: when it comes to the NHS, Labour writes the speeches, Conservatives write the cheques. He gamely managed to avoid smiling when he said that this settlement was not enough. He said the same thing on “Sunday Politics” yesterday. Let me remind him that at the last election his party was promising not the 3.4% annual increases that we are offering today, but 2.2%. What today he says was not enough he said in the election was enough to
“'restore the NHS to be the envy of the world”.
His leader said that it would
“give our NHS the resources it needs”.
What we are offering today is not 10% or 20% more than that, but 50% more. In five years’ time this Conservative Government will be giving the NHS £7 billion more every year than Labour was prepared to give. [Interruption.] It is funny, isn’t it, that Labour Members talk about funding the NHS but when we talk about it they try to talk it down? They do not want to hear the fact that under a Conservative Government there will be £7 billion more funding every year—that is 225,000 more nurses’ salaries under a Conservative Government. [Interruption.]