Clegg says Lib Dems would spend extra £8bn on NHS

nhs sign lrgNick Clegg has set out how the Liberal Democrats would invest in the NHS in government for the next five years.

From the Guardian:

Fleshing out the figure released by the deputy prime minister at a press conference, the Lib Dems said they would increase the NHS’s funding by £8bn a year by 2020-21 in three stages. They would make permanent the coalition government’s extra £2bn a year – which was announced in the autumn statement – by 2015-16.

In addition, Clegg said the party would find another £1bn a year in real terms in 2016-17 by capping pension tax relief for the wealthiest (which the Lib Dems said would save £500m), aligning dividend tax with income tax for those earning more than £150,000 (saving £400m) and scrapping the shares for rights scheme, which allows employees to forfeit certain employment rights in return for company shares (saving £100m).

Once it had reduced the deficit in 2017-18, Clegg said that the party would increase health spending in line with growth in the economy. He said: “It’s a combination of change plus more money and the reason we can do that, and no other party will be able to do that, is firstly, as we explained at our party conference, is we are going to introduce some tax changes which only affect the very wealthiest, to put in an extra billion pounds into the NHS, and next year and the year after that.”

The extra funding for the NHS would be prioritised in two key areas: mental health and integrating health and social care.

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37 Comments

  • What about everything else that is getting its spending destroyed? Spending on the NHS is short-sighted when the huge range of social support provided by councils is being decimated by coalition policy and the knock on effect of these cuts will cost the NHS more than the interventions by councils would.

  • @ Jack
    So where are you saying the money should come from for even more spending in other areas, exactly?

  • Yes Clegg says this and as anyone who was listening to Radio 4 this morning knows the numbers do not stand up.

    When the BBC man asked “senior party officials” where the money would come from, they had no answer.

    Does Clegg have a problem with numbers and public finances? Or is this a cover for replacing the NHS with some sort of expensive USA style private insurance scheme that he and Laws used to talk about so enthusiastically ?

  • At the very end of The Guardian piece that this article provides a link to —
    “..Although Clegg did not rule out entering a coalition with Ukip…. …”

  • @John
    “as anyone who was listening to Radio 4 this morning knows the numbers do not stand up.”

    So are you saying we shouldn’t be promising to spend this extra money, then?

  • The problem is that after “Tuition Fees”, anything resembling a pledge coming from ” our great leaders” lips is simply laughed at by most people, especially those in the Health Service, many of whom voted for us last time.
    When will the party top brass get a grasp of reality.
    In any case just saying I will put this or that amount into the Health Service is not an answer, it just gets swallowed up one way or another. It is gravy train and really is it time to ask whether we should follow the Canadian or Australian line instead of simply saying the words, “our wonderful NHS” and all it needs is yet another cash flow injection., Perhaps the real world and our alleged attitude towards the NHS no longer go together.

  • Simon McGrath 6th Jan '15 - 11:53am

    Nick has found Labour’s magic money tree?

  • RC — I am saying we should be honest, competent and credible.

    My guess is that you would have no problem with honesty and competence which result in credibility ?

    Unfortunately our leader seems to think he can say one thing on the Autumn Statement or spending on the NHS in one speech and something entirely contradictory in the next speech.

    By doing so he drags down every Liberal Democrat candidate who have to try and explain which Clegg is the real one today.

    Is he being dishonest or is he being incompetent?
    He is certainly not credible if he says he will find an extra £8 Billion for the NHS by searching for spare coins that might have slipped down the back of his sofa.

    Ending annual expenditure on Trident and an immediate decision to stop replacement would pay for additional expenditure on the NHS beyond £8 Billion. To say so would be honest and credible.

    Our leaders used to say such things before they got int the bind of only saying things that will support a Conservative Coalition.

  • The elephant in the room is the population increase. This is partly due to an ageing population living longer and partly due to soaring immigration. The result is demand outstripping capacity by a long way.

    Our politicians don’t mention this because they have no solution. The BBC does not mention it either because they support higher immigration and believe that to do otherwise would be racist.

    As the Eurozone crumbles, our population growth will accelerate exponentially.

  • “Ending annual expenditure on Trident and an immediate decision to stop replacement would pay for additional expenditure on the NHS beyond £8 Billion. To say so would be honest and credible.”

    ..but undeliverable, given the position of both the Tories and Labour on Trident.

    So you are proposing that Nick Clegg promise something that is undeliverable under any conceivable future coalition government following May’s election.

    Tell me, how did that work out last time he did it?

  • Random silly pre-election statements need to come with sheets of hard facts and data explaining how these fantasy positions are to be achieved. Love the sentiment, hate the tuition fees Groundhog Day feeling.

  • Nick T Nick Thornsby 6th Jan '15 - 1:01pm

    John Tilley – “Or is this a cover for replacing the NHS with some sort of expensive USA style private insurance scheme that he and Laws used to talk about so enthusiastically ?”

    Could you provide an example of Nick Clegg ever having spoken or written favourably about moving to a private insurance system?

  • @RC – tax rises, borrowing and growth primarily and a more sensible approach to how we reduce spending rather than “protecting” popular items for cheap political points. There’s not much reason to think the spending priorities were hugely out of whack prior to the austerity era, by protecting certain areas at the cost of others has distorted the way we spend money in a way that is deeply irrational.

  • @ Jack

    “tax rises, borrowing and growth primarily and a more sensible approach to how we reduce spending”

    So a bigger deficit basically and ignoring the long term consequences in terms of higher national debt, interest payments etc.

  • Peter Watson 6th Jan '15 - 3:35pm

    @RC “So a bigger deficit basically and ignoring the long term consequences in terms of higher national debt, interest payments etc.”
    Out of interest, which of the Lib Dem policies in Coalition are specifically responsible for reducing the deficit? The much-vaunted successes like raising the tax threshold, pupil premium, free school meals, etc. all seem to be things that increase borrowing, and even the hugely damaging u-turn on tuition fees would not reduce current expenditure since the larger student loans must be paid for. Was increasing VAT a Lib Dem idea?

  • stuart moran 6th Jan '15 - 3:35pm

    RC

    I don’t see where you get that from the quote you refer to

    Can you justify what you wrote? I can only assume you don’t want to raise taxes, assume there will be no growth and so the only way is through non-sensible spending cuts?

    Seems like a Tory approach to me – but who can tell the difference nowadays

  • stuart moran 6th Jan '15 - 3:43pm

    Peter

    If I remember rightly the accountants consider student debt as an asset so that the Government can pretend they aren’t paying for HE. The only time it will appear on the books is when it is written off but that will be for another Government and will enable them to complain about Labour increasing the national debt if they try to write anything off earlier or change the rules

    Accounting tricks are all part of the game I think…

    Please correct if wrong…. It is from something I read yesterday after the Kraftwerk tribute band event ( with the lead member looking very similar to an incompetent CoE from the UK)

  • Stuart Moran

    “If I remember rightly the accountants consider student debt as an asset so that the Government can pretend they aren’t paying for HE. The only time it will appear on the books is when it is written off but that will be for another Government and will enable them to complain about Labour increasing the national debt if they try to write anything off earlier or change the rules”

    No that is not how it works. Paying for education is a flow (on the Income Statement), the asset of student loans is on the balance sheet. The fact is that the money has to be borrowed to pay the costs so appears in the deficit. There is not a netting off of unrealised assets (the Student Loans).

    There is plenty wrong with government accounting, but what you have described isn’t one of them. Many liabilities are hidden and the government should be made to report against the highest accounting standards of public companies but that is not to fix anything round student loans.

    You may be getting confused with the plans to sell the loan book, but again that hasn’t been done, and if it were it wouldn’t “make it look like the government aren’t paying for education.”

  • Peter Watson 6th Jan '15 - 5:13pm

    @Psi Thanks for that clarification. The fact that the Lib Dem u-turn on tuition fees does not seem to have contributed to the coalition’s raison d’etre of deficit reduction makes it even more surprising/disappointing.
    But what are the Lib Dem policies in coalition that have been about deficit reduction?

  • Peter Watson

    “But what are the Lib Dem policies in coalition that have been about deficit reduction?”

    Can’t think of anything.

  • stuart moran 6th Jan '15 - 5:49pm

    Psi

    Thanks for the clarification

  • Little Jackie Paper 6th Jan '15 - 6:35pm

    RC – ‘So where are you saying the money should come from for even more spending in other areas, exactly?’

    Sorry, this gets lobbed around an awful lot and it overlooks a key policy of this Coalition. Ringfences for particular areas of spend. I am continually surprised by how little debate ringfences for some very large budgets has provoked.

    The Coalition has found money for a triple locked pension at a staggering cost. It has borrowed £2bn for fuel payments for little grannies, even those in mansions, and no one blanched about the deficit. Of course the NHS has been protected with almost no debate about what the NHS should be.

    But it matters greatly because in a fiscal consolidation any protection for one are surely means deeper cuts elsewhere. Local Government and the young in particular have taken a battering. The Coalition has ducked these important debates for reasons that are not at all obvious to me. Or at least I can’t see the economic reasons.

    All this is before we get to the talkboard staples like Trident, PFI interest, foreign aid, HS2, Libya, Landlord Subsidy and so on.

    So yes, by all means let’s look at where the money comes from. But when doing so let’s at least be honest and accept that when it comes to certain things the Coalition has found the money, fiscal consolidation or not.

  • Stephen Donnelly 6th Jan '15 - 8:52pm

    This is a bit of a rabbit out of the hat, if we could show that it was fully funded I would be please.

    The previous policy quoted by the King’s Fund was : “Provide a real-terms increase in NHS funding of £1 billion in 2016/17 and 2017/18, with the possibility of higher increases after that”. We seemed to be relying on some unfunded promises about Mental Health to get us through the election campaign.

    That strategy now seems to have been abandoned, but It is very difficult to believe funding promises that are not part of a fully costed budget. I do hope this has been properly thought through, otherwise there could be another painful loss of credibility.

    All the main political parties need to sit themselves down in a dark room and consider how all this nonsense with numbers is coming across to an increasingly cynical public,

  • Peter Watson 6th Jan '15 - 11:11pm

    @Little Jackie Paper “I am continually surprised by how little debate ringfences for some very large budgets has provoked.”
    I seem to remember that before the 2010 election Lib Dems opposed ringfencing large budgets, particularly for the NHS.

  • Steve Comer 6th Jan '15 - 11:12pm

    Well said Stephen “All the main political parties need to sit themselves down in a dark room and consider how all this nonsense with numbers is coming across to an increasingly cynical public,…”
    The trouble is all the Westminster Leaderships are so obsessed with trading numbers and percentages on the BBC they’ve failed to notice the audience has switched off.
    Throwing money at the NHS will not solve the key problem which is making its cost rise, that is the ageing population and the fact that too many elderly people are having to stay in hospital for too long due a lack of the right type of re-ablement or short term higher dependency care places. We also need to address why so many visits are being made to A&E for treatment that could and should be done by local GPs and clinics.

  • stuart moran 7th Jan '15 - 12:40am

    So today we have the Tories blaming Labour for the current A&E crisis

    Where do you all sit on this – is it all the fault of Labour?

    Andy Burnham raised some of the issues we are seeing in 2013 – even if he was to blame as I am sure you will say, why did he spot the upcoming problem when until a few weeks ago Cameron and Hunt were saying there was no crisis

    http://andyburnhammp.blogspot.ch/2013/11/the-prime-minister-is-presiding-over-a.html

    If there was no crisis imminent a few weeks ago according to the DoH (despite everyone else saying there was) why then is it all the fault of the Government 5 years ago (who managed to meet their targets) and nothing to do with the current Government

  • Andrew Purches 7th Jan '15 - 10:17am

    I am far from convinced that the funding needs of the NHS will be found through the continued ” Robbery of Peter to pay Paul” philosophy that governs all treasury economic policies. But the money is there already: breakup and cancel all the PFI contracts that are bleeding the Primary and Secondary care levels of the Health Service absolutely dry – the whole concept of these scams are based upon misleading the Tax Payer, and being basically dishonest,I am sure that these contracts could be reviewed and cancelled with a well considered piece of legislation. These financial scams have gone on long enough – the Tax Payer has been the loser all along.

  • Nick Thornsby 6th Jan ’15 – 1:01pm
    John Tilley –  Could you provide an example of Nick Clegg ever having spoken or written favourably about moving to a private insurance system?

    Yes Nick here is an example —

    “We do want to break up the NHS.”  Nick Clegg.

     Nick Clegg’s demand for the NHS to be broken up

    Opponents said the comments about the NHS, in a 2005 interview in the Independent, showed that Mr Clegg had no understanding of the way the health service works.

    In the interview, carried out while Charles Kennedy was leader and two years before Mr Clegg took the job, he said: ‘I think breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do ….. …. ’

    Asked whether he favoured a Canadian or European-style social insurance system, he said: ‘I don’t think anything should be ruled out.

    In the interview, Mr Clegg said ‘defending the status quo’ is no longer an option. Instead, he called on his party to ‘let its hair down’, ‘break a long-standing taboo’ and be ‘reckless’ in its thinking.

    ‘We do want to break up the NHS,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to privatise it, we want to break it up. 

    A year earlier, Mr Clegg had contributed to the notorious Orange Book in which those on the right of the party discussed how policies should change under Mr Kennedy’s leadership. The conclusion of the book outlines in more detail the type of insurance scheme he was outlining.

    John Lister, of the lobby group Health Emergency, said: ‘These comments show Mr Clegg does not understand the NHS. He seems to be ignorant of the fact that social insurance schemes in Europe are far more expensive.’

    Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘The NHS is one of Britain’s most loved institutions. People will be worried that Nick Clegg wants to “break it up”.’

     [you can read more at —

    http://www.onaquietday.org/2012/03/09/nhs-news-review-nick-clegg-calls-for-the-break-up-of-the-nhs-in-2005/

  • Jayne Mansfield 7th Jan '15 - 11:07am

    I would like to see some GP and district nurse practices that are run by the NHS and not run as private businesses. Maybe if we had an NHS salaried service from NHS owned premises, we would then be able to get the care we want in the community instead of having to get to a hospital. In my experience, the Labour GP contract was disastrous for the patient.

    At the moment, the idea of Care in the Community fills me with dread because I know, from caring for an elderly relative that care for the patient and the carer in the community is almost non-existent. Care is labour intensive and therefore expensive. As more cut backs to Local Government funding are made it can only get worse.

    I remember when Care in the community for people with mental health issues was all the thing. Basically it was just a political disappearing trick where hospital beds were lost whilst there was not the level of care needed in the community to care for those desperately in need of it. They became out of sight ,out of mind. Political failure was hidden away.

  • Simon McGrath 7th Jan '15 - 11:39am

    John Tilley – thanks for the quotes which demonstrate that your claim Clegg wants to move to a private insurance system is untrue.

  • Simon McGrath — if the words used in The Independent were not clear enough perhaps The Daily Mail will be easier for you.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1269045/General-Election-2010-Nick-Cleggs-demand-NHS-broken-up.html

    Clegg’s demand for NHS to be replaced with European-style insurance system

    By Daniel Martin for the Daily Mail 
    Updated: 08:15, 27 April 2010

    ”   Nick Clegg has called for the NHS to be ‘broken up’ and said the Lib Dems should consider replacing it with a European-style insurance system.  ”

    Simon McGrath, if any of these words are too difficult for you to understand, perhaps you could seek help.

  • Malcolm Todd 8th Jan '15 - 10:58am

    John Tilley

    “Breaking up the NHS” and “moving to a European-style insurance system” may be bad ideas but they are absolutely not the same as “replacing the NHS with some sort of expensive USA style private insurance scheme”. There is an Atlantic-sized gulf of difference between the broadly fair and efficient European-style health insurance systems and the appalling US system. About all they have in common is the word “insurance” — a word which was also an integral part of the Beveridge plan (and remains as a fig-leaf for income tax in Britain today).

  • Simon McGrath 8th Jan '15 - 11:20am

    @John -I can’t help but think that having to resort to the Daily Mail doesnt really help your case……

  • Malcolm Todd

    You may have seen this by Seumas Milne in today’s Guardian —

    What can’t seriously be doubted is that if Cameron returns to Downing Street in May the NHS will be dismembered as a national service. The scale of cuts planned by the Tories, combined with the acceleration of privatisation they are evidently committed to, would dwarf the current crisis, with NHS charges an obvious outcome. Far from scaremongering, that’s the choice we face.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/08/nhs-emergency-crisis-corporate-feasting-cameron-privatisation

    This is aimed at Cameron and the Tories, but Clegg’s repeated statements about breaking up the NHS and “ruling nothing out” when it comes to replacing the NHS with private health schemes cannot be ignored.

    On the same track you may not think it a coincidence that some Liberal Democrat MPs have recently been in receipt of donations from organisations with an interest in privatisation of the NHS.

  • Simon McGrath

    In your attempt to derail another discussion you seem to be saying that The Independent, The Mail, The BBC, the Campaign for the NHS as well as the book The Clegg Coup have all got their facts wrong in reporting Nick Clegg’s clearly stated desire to “break up the NHS”.

    As a devotee of The Orange Book have you overlooked the chapter on health insurance?
    Was that wrong as well? Surely not.

  • Simon McGrath 8th Jan '15 - 12:26pm

    @John Tilley – you are quite right of course. A story in the Guardian about the Tories is conclusive proof that Clegg wants to ‘break up the NHS’

    Though it seems a bit odd that he has just announced he wants to spend another £8bn a year on it. No doubt that is an ingenious bluff suggested by the hedge funds/US healthcare firms/ illumunati/giant lizards who are secretly controlling him.

  • Peter Watson 9th Jan '15 - 12:31am

    @Simon McGrath “No doubt that is an ingenious bluff suggested by the hedge funds/US healthcare firms/ illumunati/giant lizards who are secretly controlling him.”
    Or a lack of consistency. Or unprincipled opportunism.
    Though I prefer the lizard theory 😉 That could explain all the pauses for dramatic effect in every sentence of a Clegg speech: the lizards are whispering the next phrase in his ear.

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