Monday, July 02, 2007

Brown's latest £2 billion cut in hospital funding

It has emerged that one of Gordon Brown's last acts as Chancellor was to cut £2 billion from the NHS capital expenditure budget in England. He reduced the funds available for hospital building and equipment from £6.2 billion to £4.2 billion.

A few days later he became Prime Minister and announced that the health service was his "immediate priority." Cutting the capital available to the NHS by nearly a third is not what most of us would expect the words "immediate priority" to mean. Certainly if this decision were to stand, it would not help the prospects for the West Cumberland Hospital, Millom Community Hospital, or Mary Hewetson Cottage hospital getting the investment and support that our communities in Cumbria desperately want them to receive.

I gather from Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times that the Treasury has admitted that the £2 billion cut will probably be restored in the spending plans for the three years from 2008-9.

In other words Gordon has very quietly cut a large sum of money from the N.H.S. but is likely to put it back just before the next election. Anyone care to bet whether when he does, there will be a huge song and dance about how the prime minister has found more money for the health service?

Some people are naive enough to suggest that because the chancellor has finally become Prime Minister, the era of spin is over. As the saying goes, Yeah, right!


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