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The National Health Service

Part of Speaker’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 4:22 pm on 23rd October 2019.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead 4:22 pm, 23rd October 2019

As was said in debate with the Scottish National party spokesman earlier, the Government can borrow money much cheaper than any private organisation.

I am thrilled that there is some honesty in the Chamber, because we have argued about PFI for donkey’s years; it was a way of getting things off balance sheet, and let us move on from that. There is no more PFI—we can all agree on that—but actually we are not privatising the NHS, as everybody with an ounce of common sense knows. The NHS is perfectly safe; it has been safe under this party for the majority of its time since inception, and it will stay perfectly safe. There are massive demands on it, however, and I cannot allow all this money—taxpayers’ money—to be put into a Victorian hospital next to a football stadium in the middle of Watford. Anybody who knows our part of the world knows that Watford football club is in the premiership. It might be struggling a little bit at the moment, although it did very well against Spurs the other evening. Let us pause, get the experts around the table and stop scaring people with costs that are completely unrealistic—new hospitals were built in Birmingham for £425 million and a new one can almost certainly be built in Harlow for similar amount. Let us have a 21st century hospital. Let us be honest with each other and move that forward.