Health and Social Care Bill — Second Reading (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:06 am on 12th October 2011.

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Photo of Lord Campbell of Alloway Lord Campbell of Alloway Conservative 11:06 am, 12th October 2011

My Lords, the purpose of this short speech, within the advice that has been given, is to oppose the amendment to the commitment Motion to be moved later on. I say that with all due respect, of course, to the noble Lord, Lord Owen. There are two reasons for doing so and they are fairly short. The first is that this Bill proposes urgent requisite reform-immediate reform-of the NHS structure and means of implementation and there is no way in which it can be delayed. This was as expounded by my noble friend Lord Howe and spoken to by the noble Lord, Lord Birt, and many other noble Lords, some of whom agreed, others of whom did not agree. I support the Government.

There is also a problem of extraordinary importance beyond the actual remit of what the Bill is concerned with. We are entering, and have entered, a threat of global recession. The eurozone problems have not been resolved. The banking crisis has not been resolved. Whether we incur more borrowing to pay the interest on our massive debt, I do not know, but there is a problem here because if the country is in this state the first thing that has to be done is to seek to retain our triple A rating. If we do not support the Government, the consequences could be catastrophic. Those are the only reasons that I can give. This extraordinary situation concerns not just the Bill but the realm and the Government. We need to support them in a moment of crisis. I hope that undertakings will be given by my noble friend Lord Howe-if he is able to give them-to the effect that the Government will, before and after Royal Assent to the Bill, continue to take into consideration proposals, many of which have been spoken to by your Lordships. I am grateful for the opportunity to speak.