A Government minister, who is also a practicing GP, compared the health service to a ‘Ponzi’ or pyramid scheme in a discussion about why young people might be losing faith in the system.
Phillip Lee MP was speaking at a Conservative Party Conference fringe meeting on Monday 2 October organised by think-tank the Social Market Foundation and pollsters Opinium about ways the Conservative Party could inspire the young and win over older voters.
The justice minister and Bracknell MP told conference delegates it was difficult to sell the prospect of higher taxes to pay because ‘this Ponzi scheme that we’ve had in play for pensions and for healthcare and for social care for the past 30 years is about to collapse, so therefore we want you to work really really hard, but when you get to 65, it’s not going to be there.’
Ponzi schemes were described by the US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission as working on the ‘rob Peter to pay Paul principle’. Cash from new investors is used to pay off older investors and when there is no new money, the scheme collapses.
A spokesman for the MP told Pulse: ‘Dr Lee does not believe that the NHS is in danger of imminent collapse, as a practicing GP he takes the NHS, social care and pensions incredibly seriously – caring for the sick and looking after the elderly are two of the most important roles of government.
’The quotes attributed to him, which he put forward as a hypothetical case, have been plucked from a nuanced and wide-ranging discussion at a fringe meeting on young and older voters.’
The spokesman added: ’He’s proud to be part of a government that is protecting and increasing pensions, and spending an additional £8 billion on the NHS in this parliament.’
Dr Lee has registered £10,505 in payments as a freelance GP for 133.5 hours work at practices in Slough and Great Missenden since April this year in the Register of MPs’ Interests.