Cameron’s £12.7bn NHS lie confirmed by UKSA – but not yet censured

Earlier this month, for two weeks in a row, David Cameron knowingly misled Parliament on NHS spending, claiming

The Government have put £12.7 billion extra into our NHS. That is how we are supporting carers and hospitals

I, and a number of SKWAWKBOX readers wrote to the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) to complain about this blatant lie. The UKSA told the government last year that its claims to have increased spending in real terms at all were incorrect and should no longer be used, so a sudden claim to put almost £13bn extra into the NHS cannot be construed as anything but knowingly misleading.

The UKSA today responded to my complaint. The authority’s reply clearly indicates that Cameron lied – yet fails to censure him or his government. Here’s the response:

Thank you for your email. The Statistics Authority understands that the figure of “£12.7 billion extra” expenditure quoted by the Prime Minister relates to the difference between planned expenditure on the NHS in England in 2014-15 (£114.4 billion) and the outturn figure for 2010-11 (£101.8 billion).

These figures can be found in Table 1.13 in Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) published in 2012 (available at the link below), showing a difference of £12.6 billion. Subsequent revisions have changed this difference to £12.7 billion.

The UKSA appears to endorse Mr Cameron’s claim, but the detail does anything but. Read the quote again – Cameron stated that the government has put £12.7bn extra into the NHS. The UKSA’s response shows very clearly that this is a lie.

Firstly, the £12.7bn is a planned future figure that has not yet been executed. Leaving aside the fact that the Treasury claws back huge amounts from the NHS budget so that it is never spent on healthcare. In no sense can a future plan be said to have been put into the NHS.

Secondly, the claim is based on “the outturn figure for 2010/11”. In other words, Cameron is basing his claim on a figure that already represented a fall compared to the previous Labour government’s spending – so any claim that even the future figure represents £12.7bn extra compared to Labour is patent nonsense and a blatant lie.

Cameron’s mendacity is nailed to the wall.I’ve forwarded this information to Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham and it looks like Labour may bring this up in today’s PMQs.

However, the UKSA is giving Cameron too much leeway by repeating deceptively-based figures and not censuring him as it has Smith, Shapps and Co. I’ve therefore replied with the following:

Thank you! However, since the PM regularly claims ‘we have put £12.7bn extra into the NHS’, he’s not being truthful, then – since this is planned future spending and not existing, and he’s benchmarking to a figure that was already down from Labour’s if I’m reading the figures correctly.

Can this be addressed, please?
Once again we are shown to have a government, and a Prime Minister, who are ‘perfectly relaxed’ about lying. Please spread the word to help make sure that they don’t get away with that.

12 responses to “Cameron’s £12.7bn NHS lie confirmed by UKSA – but not yet censured

  1. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    Steve appears to have been sharper than me on this. I also received the UK Statistics Authority’s reply today (exact same wording). My response was:
    “I note with concern that this means the Prime Minister expects to put nearly £10 billion into the NHS over the next two years, when in the last three he has taken nearly £1 billion away (and I am unsure whether that includes amounts exceeding £1 billion that the Treasury clawed back from NHS budgets over this period)!
    “He will need to be monitored constantly and I trust the UK Statistics Authority will continue to do so. Failure to fulfil his promises – for whatever reason – will require a strong public rebuke, to match the amount of exposure he has given to his claim.”

  2. I also received the very same reply. Thanks for explaining what it means because it left me bemused! Just missed PMQ’s sadly. Did Andy Burnham raise the issue?

    • Not sure as I missed it too. Will need to watch later or read Hansard! Mind you, currently on the way to Westminster anyway, so I’ll ask when I’m there lol

  3. I have also received the same reply and I am going to send a return email to UKSA. How can they get keep getting away with blatantly lying because there doesn’t seem to be any deterrent at all to stop them? surely there has got to be some redress for their action? What chance have we got when the powers that be aren’t telling us the truth and twisting things to suit themselves.. I despair I really do..

  4. I have not had a response from my Tory MP re statistics I think I will forward the response from UKSA and ask him for a fourth time for his response? he replies to other emails albeit not good responses but at least I get a reply but for some reason he is ignoring anything to do with false statistics…
    I wonder why?

  5. This is worth pursuing but is small fry compared to the REAL IMPACT of the current NHS budget. Inflation plus (6% – 3% CIP) = 3% is what is needed to stand still in healthcare (note tough efficiency savings accounted for).
    On the ground, therefore, the situation is VERY difficult whatever the precise figure is. However, the fallout from all this gives HMG an opportunity to suggest that hospitals/services should be de-professionalised/closed/privatised etc on “we can’t afford it” grounds.
    BUT, if the public were ACTUALLY asked this question, they would be likely to agree to pay through progressive taxation for any NHS bill up to about 15% of GNP.
    Mind you, that wouldn’t be necessary as 10% of GNP carefully spent in a collaborative/socialised NHS would be sufficient to give us the best health system and outcomes in the world (like we used to have) – rather than what we are heading towards – a return to what my parents and grandparents described to me as the pre-NHS era – fear of the financial consequences of illness being worse than the fear of illness itself.

  6. Pingback: Another Tory MP responds on stats lies. | The SKWAWKBOX Blog·

  7. I am so glad that you are working for the nation.They are trying to tell us that the state of the art single on suit rooms ,with PPI money,is N.H.S.BY THE TIME ITS COMPLETED ,THERE WONT BE ANY N.H.S. BUT VERY NICE FOR A PRIVATE HOSPITAL .AND PROBABLY BE ROBOTS AS NURSES .

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