Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 1:40 pm on 20 March 2024.

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Photo of Yasmin Qureshi Yasmin Qureshi Labour, Bolton South East 1:40, 20 March 2024

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I refer the House to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests; I am chair of the all-party parliamentary group on dentistry and oral health.

When launching the NHS dentistry recovery plan exactly six weeks ago, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care repeatedly assured the House that the plan was backed by £200 million of new funding. She said:

“There is £200 million on top of the £3 billion that we already spend on NHS dentistry in England.”

She made that very clear, adding:

“this is additional money. I have prioritised dentistry across the board, but this is £200 million of additional money—in addition to the £3 billion that we spend in England.”—[Official Report, 7 February 2024;
Vol. 745, c. 264-66.]

We were all therefore very surprised to hear the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Dame Andrea Leadsom, explain to the Health and Social Care Committee yesterday that the plan to deal with the crisis in NHS dentistry was not in fact backed by any additional investment. She explained that it was all coming out of the £3 billion that is currently so underspent.

As those two statements stand in direct contradiction with one another, I fear that either the Secretary of State or the Minister may have inadvertently misled the House. As we celebrate World Oral Health Day, I hope that you may be able to advise me, Mr Deputy Speaker, on how we can seek clarity on this issue and have the record corrected on the Floor of the House.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means), Chair, Restoration and Renewal Programme Board Committee, Chair, Restoration and Renewal Programme Board Committee

I thank the hon. Member for her point of order and for giving forward notice of it. She will know that Ministers are responsible for the accuracy of what they say in the House, whether in the Chamber or before Select Committees. Although it is not a matter for the Chair, those on the Treasury Bench will have heard her concerns, and if the Minister or the Secretary of State thinks that a correction is necessary, I am sure that one will be forthcoming.