Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
First, may I thank the hon. Lady for doing something that the shadow Health Secretary did not do, which is to welcome this £20 billion annual rise in the NHS budget? I completely agree with her about the importance of prevention, the importance of social care and the importance of making sure that we sustainably invest in transformation funding. The think tanks do disagree on what level of rise is necessary. Lord Darzi and the Institute for Public Policy Research said 3.5%; we are on 3.4%, which is not far off that. The IPPR went a little higher, but, like the hon. Lady, Paul Johnson said that this will stop the NHS going backwards.
With respect to overall funding levels for the NHS, the United Kingdom currently funds the NHS at the western European average as a percentage of GDP. That is not as high as France or Germany and it is true that, by the end of this five-year period, our funding will end up at broadly similar levels to those of France today, although of course it may change them over the five-year period.
I gently say to the hon. Lady that if that is a worry for her, she needs to explain to NHS users in Scotland why, when NHS spending has increased by 20% in England over the past five years, it has increased by only 14% in Scotland because of choices made by the Scottish National party. For every additional pound per head invested in the NHS in England only 85p has been invested in the NHS in Scotland. I hope that she makes a pledge, as I hope Labour does with its responsibility for Wales, that every extra penny that she gets through the Barnett formula will go to the NHS, because that is what the voters in Scotland want.