Last night we reported that Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary and MP for Leith, was opposed to plans to devolve the £6bn NHS budget to Greater Manchester.
It has now been reported that local politicians didn’t consult him prior to agreeing this with the government. The Manchester Evening News have reported that Burnham was “furious” with local leaders – particularly Burnham’s local town hall chief Lord Peter Smith – who had not informed him of the devolution deal.
However, other sources told the paper that Burnham had looked at the plans two weeks ago. Yet an ally of Burnham told the MEN this didn’t happen, and claimed that local politicians who were in on the deal were simply ‘back covering’.
Burnham isn’t alone in his criticism of giving Greater Manchester control over its entire health budget – Shadow Minister’s Lisa Nandy (MP for Wigan) and Barbara Keeley (MP for Worsley and Eccles South( have agreed with Burnham on this.
Yet, Ed Balls Shadow Chancellor, seemed to side with the devolution plans; when asked on a radio show whether he would extend this plan to the whole country, he said yes. Balls has since said he was backing Burnham’s plans.