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Volume 589: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2014

Will the Prime Minister confirm that NHS spending under the coalition Government has risen by 4% in real terms? That has been passed on to Scotland, where spending has in fact been cut by 1%. Is he also aware that Grampian has a £70 million two-year shortfall in funding? Consequently, the responsibility for the crisis in the health service in the north-east of Scotland lies firmly with the Scottish Government, led until a few weeks ago by Alex Salmond, the MSP for Aberdeenshire East.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. We have increased spending by £12.7 billion. That translates into a real-terms increase. Scotland and Wales have had the extra money to spend, but Labour in Wales chose to cut the NHS rather than to invest in it, and in Scotland the SNP Government have not translated the full amount of money. That is why, when we look at figures for such things as accident and emergency, yes, we need to do better in England, but our performance is still well better than it is in Wales, Scotland, or, indeed, in Northern Ireland. The moral of this story is that you need a long-term economic plan and a Conservative-led Government to deliver these advances.

Points of order come after statements, and we have a statement. The hon. Gentleman ought to know that by know, with the greatest of respect. We will come to the statement in a moment.