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Monday 24th October 2016

Is overseas health and aid wasted?

9th July 2010

The Telegraph argues there is no economic case for ring-fencing the health service and overseas aid.


The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has written to all departments apart from the Department of Health and the Department for International Development (DFID), asking each to outline how it would cope with a significantly reduced budget.

For defence and education, this means a 10-20% cut over the next four years while the Home Office, Foreign Office, or Department for Work and Pensions could face cuts of 25-40%.

We applaud the Coalition’s drive to tackle Britain’s extremely serious fiscal deficit, yet 40% cuts would be unprecedented, seeing public services slashed and up to 2 million public workers lose their jobs.

However, it is folly to exclude the biggest spender of all, the NHS, from the cuts.

While The Telegraph is committed to the NHS, investigation into the health service has concluded that there is a huge amount of waste and inefficiency within it, which only grew as the previous government poured money into an unreformed system.

David Cameron is committed to maintain spending on the NHS, but there is no economic case for leaving it alone.

The Coalition’s commitment to maintaining the aid budget is even more bizarre. While the DFID budget is very small, it is hard to see why it should be thought sacrosanct when spending on so many other vital areas is not.

If ministers are to succeed in their enormous task of cutting the deficit they will have to tear down the ring-fencing.


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