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NHS Funding

Volume 646: debated on Tuesday 11 September 2018

3. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on NHS funding. (906780)

We have regular meetings with the Health Secretary and have recently allocated an additional fund of a 3.4% rise per year to the national health service, which will equate to £20 billion by 2023.

In Bedfordshire, children with mental health issues are travelling up to 100 miles to access services. Their recovery is hugely compromised by sending them away from their families and friends. Will the Chancellor now commit funds to local specialist facilities for young people and reinstate the mental health beds in Bedford that his Government took away?

We recognise that there is increasing demand for the NHS, which is precisely why we have allocated the additional funding, and the Health Secretary will shortly publish a 10-year plan with mental health as one strand of it.

Is it reasonable for me to expect to pass my assets and property to my heirs unencumbered and intact and at the same time to expect the taxpayer to pay for my social care?

We recognise that social care is an area where reform is needed, and my right hon. Friend the Health Secretary will shortly publish a Green Paper to outline some of the options and to make sure we have a proper discussion as a country about the future of social care.

My clinical commissioning group in north Derbyshire has seen an uplift of only 1% over the five-year funding settlement from 2016-17, resulting in a deficit of £51 million to find this year in cuts and of £71 million next year. It is having to cut everything that it is not statutorily required to provide, including all voluntary services. Will the Chancellor look at the funding that has gone to the national health service over the past six years to make sure this can be met?

No doubt, the hon. Lady will welcome the additional money allocated to the NHS to reflect the increasing demand. I point out that under the plans proposed by the Labour party, which would mean fewer businesses, fewer jobs and less tax revenue, there would be less money going into the NHS and the hon. Lady’s local services.

There is strong public appetite for increased spending not only on the NHS, but on education, defence and a whole host of other areas, and, if the polls and all the petitions are to be believed, there is a strong public appetite to pay more tax in order to finance those spending increases. Will the Minister bear that in mind in the upcoming Budget?

I am sure my hon. Friend will recognise that we are not going to announce the contents of the Budget at today’s Treasury questions, but I point out that we are a Government who believe in low taxes: we have reduced taxes on basic rate taxpayers by £1,000. Of course, as well as putting that extra money into the NHS, my job as Chief Secretary is to make sure we get value for money from every penny we spend, and that is why we are developing a 10-year plan. We are improving the use of technology and we are getting better value for money from the drugs budget as well.

Is the Chief Secretary aware in the discussions the Health Secretary may have had on NHS funding whether he mentioned his unilateral plan to ditch the 2013 pensions deal agreed with representative bodies, which was supposed to last for 25 years, and which may affect 1 million NHS staff?

What I am aware of is the deal that has been done with NHS workers to give them a 6.5% pay rise in exchange for reform over the next three years. We know that on average public sector workers get approximately 10% more in terms of pensions than their private sector counterparts, but we are also making sure that we have the right wages to recruit and retain people in the NHS.

Clearly, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury does not even know what she has put out in her name. The pension changes snuck out on Thursday evening could negatively affect the pensions of a further 4 million public sector workers—[Interruption.] No, that is not the case. So I ask on behalf of those dedicated public sector workers—nurses, doctors, social workers, teachers, support staff and refuse collectors—will the Chancellor withdraw these snidey proposals and honour his predecessor’s deal? Is that too much to ask? Or will millions of staff in the public sector be let down and betrayed yet again by this Government?

I think the Labour party has misunderstood the announcement we made last week, which will actually ensure that more money goes into public sector pensions, in line with the deal that we did with the unions previously.