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?Steve