I should be out in East Acton (the ward I am fighting in Ealing) canvassing and I will be shortly. Meanwhile I just wanted to call out Labour leader Ed Miliband for his personal efforts to nail on Labour’s big NHS lie.
Services are closing, waiting times are growing, and billions of pounds are being wasted on a reorganisation that nobody wanted.
Ed Miliband and the rest of the Labour party know that the largest financial driver in the NHS is the Nicholson Challenge. This is a policy put in place in 2009 whilst Andy Burnham was Secretary of State. Labour knew it had to control NHS spending after years of real growth so it put the Nicholson Challenge in its 2010 manifesto on page 4:3.
The Coalition promised to protect NHS spending, which it has, but the Nicholson Challenge was already built into NHS spending plans in May 2010. Since May 2010 the Labour party at every level has simply renamed their own Nicholson Challenge policy as “Tory cuts”. This is Labour’s big NHS lie. The same, or an even worse, financial settlement would have been given to the NHS if Labour had won in 2010. Locally the NHS North West London “Shaping a Healthier Future” outcome would have been the same.
Miliband also alludes to the cost of implementing the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The bill looks like being £1.5 billion according to independent sources so calling it billions is something of an exaggeration. A one off cost of £1.5 billion is tiny compared to the £20 billion EVERY YEAR that the Nicholson Challenge is trying to take out.
There is no sign whatsoever that Labour is proposing to find £20 billion to make Nicholson go away. And not surprising: this sum is not far short of all council tax collected every year or all business rates collected every year. It is a truly large sum of money. Labour is using its own policy to knock the Conservsatives and it has no plans to unwind it.