asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from the Macclesfield district health authority requesting additional funding for the financial year 1983–84.
None, Sir. I am, of course, aware of the local planning that will be necessary to permit the new district general hospital to open next year, and of discussions that are going on between Mersey regional health authority and Macclesfield health authority.
I am somewhat surprised by that answer, because I have made personal representations by letter to the Minister. Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that the Macclesfield district health authority is serving an area with a rapidly growing population and that, in addition to the opening of the first phase of the new nucleus hospital, the area is having to cope with a growing number of elderly people, which takes considerable resources? Will he therefore give sympathetic consideration to any representations for additional resources, even if I request him to meet a delegation representing the district health authority from my constituency?
The question asked what representations I had received from the health authority. For that reason I said "None". I have of course, received a powerful letter from my hon. Friend. I will meet any delegation that he chooses to bring to me to discuss the question.I take on board all his points about Macclesfield. It is because of its needs that Macclesfield is about to get a new district general hospital, which will be handed over to the health authority a month ahead of time in March of next year. We are providing £1 million in new growth money over the next two years to help the authority to plan for the opening of the hospital. I shall be glad to discuss the problems further when I meet my hon. Friend.
As the Minister has given a wrong answer, will he give me a factual one? How much of the Macclesfield budget will be used to pay for the paltry salary offers, and how much of other district budgets will be used in that way? Those budgets are already inadequate. Surely it should be a national responsibility to pay for the salary increases.
That point has just been dealt with in a more relevant question. Had we conceded grossly excessive pay claims in the National Health Service there would not have been room for the degree of growth in the Health Service provision for patients with which the Government are pressing ahead.