It is a great pleasure to respond to this Opposition day debate on health. It is worth saying at the start that, for all we have heard from Jonathan Ashworth, today’s debate gives the House the chance to discuss the record £33.9 billion of extra funding that we are putting into health services in the UK, how we are going to spend that money and what we will do to improve the nation’s health.
I will respond to the many points that the hon. Gentleman made and explain why it is important to look at the facts when debating these things, but let me start by being crystal clear about what he is trying to do. This debate should start from a point of welcoming the record investment that is going into the NHS. Instead, all we get is Opposition Members talking down the NHS. I will get on to the details but, before I do, let us remember why we can put £33.9 billion extra into the NHS. It is because we have a strong economy, with record employment, not through increasing the tax that people pay, but by having more people in work paying income tax. [Interruption.] I hear those on the Opposition Front Bench say “No”, but just this morning we have seen record numbers of jobs—yet again, record numbers of women in work and record numbers across the board—which means that we can have this money.
It was Gordon Brown who said, “When you lose control of the public finances, it’s the most vulnerable who pay the price”. It is certainly true that we have had to do a big job of fixing the public finances, but now we are able to put in this record investment to be able to make sure that the NHS is always there in the future.