The shadow chancellor Ed Balls has promised that the Labour Party’s first budget after next year’s election will see ‘our NHS saved’.
Mr Balls made the promise in his main speech to Labour’s Party Conference in Manchester today, in which he also said that he ‘loves’ the NHS and ‘will do whatever it takes’ to save it.
But while Mr Balls promised the budget would ‘save’ the health service, he did not say whether this meant increasing NHS spending.
In the speech, he did not mention or respond to loud Labour grassroots calls for an ‘NHS tax’ to cut the NHS deficit, which has been proposed as a ringfenced rise of National Insurance contributions.
Instead he repeated Labour’s promise to remove competitive tendering from the NHS, saying: ‘We will repeal the NHS Bill and stop the creeping privatisation of the NHS.’
He also said shadow health secretary Andy Burnham’s policies would lead to money saved within the NHS.
‘Andy Burnham is setting out how we can save money, and improve care by pooling health and social care with a single budget and joint management,’ Mr Balls said.
He concluded: ‘I love the NHS – and I will do whatever it takes to save it… conference, this is what our first Labour budget will do: …Our NHS saved. That’s what Labour’s first budget will do. Fixing the economy for everyone. A plan for the many, not for the few.’
His comment come as Mr Burnham, in an exclusive interview with Pulse earlier this month, promised to halt destabilising PMS reviews and and MPIG cuts for GP practices.
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