Health and Social Care

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:28 pm on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 12:28 pm, 16th January 2020

The cash boost that we are giving now is bigger. I think today is the anniversary of Prime Minister Tony Blair sitting on the couch of a TV show, talking about increasing funding for the NHS, which was opposed by Gordon Brown, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time. We will not take any lectures.

I am thrilled that the public comprehensively rejected the Labour party’s baseless scaremongering, which was repeated through the election campaign and worried some of the most vulnerable people who rely on our NHS. I lost count of the amount of times I had to debunk some politicised nonsense put about by the Opposition across the country because they had nothing positive to say. The hon. Member for Leicester South was at it again yesterday and in his speech. He said that the settlement in the NHS Funding Bill is a cap, although clause 1 states that it is a minimum. Clause 1(1) states:

“In making an allotment to the health service in England for each financial year…the Secretary of State must allot an amount that is at least the amount specified”.

Did the hon. Gentleman even read the Bill? Did he get to clause 1? I am not sure he bothered reading it.

Let us look specifically at the amendment. It calls for reform to social care and for the Government to bring forward a plan, and that is precisely what the Queen’s Speech provides for. It also calls for additional funding for the NHS, which is what we are legislating for. The long-term plan is fully funded by the largest cash injection in the history of the NHS, and I urge Members across the House to support it fully. We can only fund the NHS with a strong economy, and that is exactly what we will do.