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Rise in NHS spend predicted

29th February 2008

The Conservative Party has confirmed that it is committed to a “real terms? increase in health spending over the next few years.

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The stance was outlined by shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley in an interview with The Times.

However, while he said that health spending as a share of GDP would have to go up by 2% a year, he insisted that it was not a pledge to increase spending.

A key factor, he said, was the realities of issues such as an ageing population, rising patient expectations, obesity and alcohol-related disease, which would force health spending as a share of GDP up to 11% from 9% by 2023.

However, Mr Lansley later clarified his position and said he was not talking about any projection for public spending or making any commitment beyond that which his party had made up to 2011.

The Conservatives have been committed to a real terms increase in NHS spending since 2006 and have also pledged to abide by Labour’s spending plans for the first three years of any future Conservative government.

Mr Lansley did also suggest that other areas would have to be cut to pay for an increase in health spending.

Health secretary Alan Johnson responded by saying: “I think that what Andrew Lansley was committing himself to was an extra £28 billion to be spent on health, taken from the budgets of other public sector departments.?

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper said the comments showed the Conservatives had lost control of their tax and spending plans.

 

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