Spring Budget 2017: Labour's John McDonnell tells Philip Hammond to commit more money to NHS

 Chancellor must not be allowed to perform a 'Jekyll and Hyde' routine at the despatch box, he says

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Thursday 02 March 2017 01:46 GMT
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell speaks at the British Chambers of Commerce conference in London
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell speaks at the British Chambers of Commerce conference in London (AFP)

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John McDonnell is set to urge Philip Hammond not to ignore the pressures facing the NHS and social care in Britain as his sets out his fiscal plans in next week’s spring budget.

Setting out Labour’s “three top priorities” for the economy – including, funding for the NHS and social care, living standards and protected public services – the Shadow Chancellor will also urge Mr Hammond not to perform a “Jekyll and Hyde” routine at the despatch box next week.

At a major speech in London, Mr McDonnell will say: “The Chancellor cannot kick the can down the road any longer, or perform a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ routine, in which he pretends that he cannot give the proper funding our NHS and social care desperately needs, while at the same time boasting better growth forecasts in the economy.

“Or pretend the public finances are doing better than expected, yet he has to cut payments to the disabled, while continuing with tax giveaways to a wealthy few.”

On the NHS and social care – subjects that were not mentioned at the Chancellor’s autumn budget – Mr McDonnell will add: “It is essential that the Government use this Budget to give the NHS and social care the funding they urgently need.

“The present Conservative Government has been condemned for its fast-and-loose approach to NHS spending.”

With the fiscal statement falling on International Women’s Day, Mr McDonnell will also cite independent estimates suggesting that 86 per cent of public spending cuts since the start of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010 have fallen on women.

The numbers behind the NHS crisis

“Our public services, from education to local government to prison services, are in a deepening crisis and the burden is falling disproportionately on women,” he will add. “It is women who are bearing the brunt of low pay, cuts to in-work benefits, and the public sector pay cap.

“Put together, this Government has created a toxic mix for women.”

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