Today, Jeremy Hunt has refused to answer NHS funding questions 18 times

jeremy hunt

Labour have really gone on the attack over the Tories’ £8bn NHS spending pledge today. Ed Miliband attacked the proposal earlier, for the Conservatives’ inability to spell out where the funding would come from.

The party have even produced a video to highlight Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s refusal to answer questions on how the Conservatives plan to pay for the increase in the health budget:

Having appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme, BBC Breakfast and Sky News today, Hunt has so far refused to answer how to fund the policy now fewer than 18 times. 

1.

Interviewer: And where will the £8bn come from?

JH: Well, it’s the right question to ask…

Jeremy Hunt, Today programme, Saturday 11th April 2015

2.

Interviewer: So it is based on an assumption then? An assumption that the economy is going to grow to the point that you’ll be able to afford this by 2020?

JH: On more than an assumption, because if you look at the last five years, when we actually inherited an economy that was contracting, we have actually been able to put in real terms more than £7bn of extra funding into the NHS on an annual basis.

Jeremy Hunt, Today programme, Saturday 11th April 2015

3.

Interviewer: You are making a spending commitment today without saying where that £8bn is going to come from?

JH: But confidence is the issue, because on May 7th voters will have a choice, and as you say, the NHS and having proper funding so that we can look after all our most vulnerable citizens properly, is one of the most important priorities.

Jeremy Hunt, Today programme, Saturday 11th April 2015

4.

Interviewer: Do you recognise this statement: ‘The chaos of unfunded spending promises’? Do you know who said that?

JH: I don’t, I am sure you are going to tell me.

Interviewer: You are now going for chaos, are you?

JH: No, that is the choice.

Jeremy Hunt, Today programme, Saturday 11th April 2015

5.

Interviewer: The question people are asking in 2015 is that here you are making all sorts of promises, we’ve got the one today on the NHS, we’ve got the one about rail fares yesterday, volunteering; you are in the realm of what Labour call fantasy promises because we also know how you are going to have to cut spending in the next government, particularly in those first few years. So these two sets of sums don’t add up?

JH: Well Labour didn’t call it fantasy promises when Tony Blair was promising a dramatic increase in funding in the NHS …

Jeremy Hunt, Today programme, Saturday 11th April 2015

6.

Interviewer: Come on, let’s talk about now and the gap between what you say you are going to spend and what you say you will cut?

JH: I think the question you are asking is exactly the right one.

Jeremy Hunt, Today programme, Saturday 11th April 2015

7.

Interviewer: No, no, where is the evidence from where it is going to be paid for?

JH: I am just trying to give you that evidence, I’m saying look at the evidence as to what has happened to the British economy, because in the end a strong NHS needs a strong economy ..

Jeremy Hunt, Today programme, Saturday 11th April 2015

8.

Interviewer: Labour says this is completely unfunded?

JH: Well it is not. And we have confidence that we can fund it because we have a strong economy which is creating a thousand jobs every single day.

Jeremy Hunt, Sky News, Saturday 11th April 2015

9.

Interviewer: How can you make a financial pledge based on projections on the economy? These projections don’t always pan out?

JH: Yes, but if you look at our track record, we inherited an economy that was in a far, far worse state…

Jeremy Hunt, Sky News, Saturday 11th April 2015

10.

Interviewer: We do know at least where the Labour Party is planning to get the money from – tax avoidance and mansion tax – we can see that in black and white, rather than just hoping that money appears?

JH: Well ..um ..what they can’t commit to is .. um .. generating money from the NHS from a growing economy because they want to tear up the  economic plan.

Jeremy Hunt, Sky News, Saturday 11th April 2015

11.

Interviewer: We are talking about £8bn by 2020, how quickly with your projections could you get us to that level of funding?

JH: Well, we have done two things…

Jeremy Hunt, Sky News, Saturday 11th April 2015

12.

Interviewer: With the £8bn, how do we work out is just filling the gap that Simon Stevens says will exist and how much extra is going to be on top to provide additional services?

JH: Well, what his plan says is if we do nothing in the NHS there will actually be a funding gap of £30bn because of these extra older people and the extra demand on the system.

Jeremy Hunt, Sky News, Saturday 11th April 2015

13.

Interviewer: But does that mean that you are also making a cast-iron guarantee that that £8bn a year will not come from cuts elsewhere?

JH: Well we have been very honest about the fact that we will need to make cuts in other government departments…

Jeremy Hunt, Sky News, Saturday 11th April 2015

14.

Interviewer: How will that £8bn sum be paid for?

JH: Well it will be paid for because we inherited an economy that was shrinking…

Jeremy Hunt, BBC Breakfast, Saturday 11th April 2015

15.

Interviewer: Let me just go back to these numbers again, so you are suggesting, to find this extraordinary sum of money, this £8bn, there need be no cuts, no extra taxes, it can all be found within the natural rhythm of the economy?

JH: Well if, and only if, you stick to an economic plan that’s working.

Jeremy Hunt, BBC Breakfast, Saturday 11th April 2015

16.

Interviewer: Forgive me, but I don’t really want to spend this time talking about the Labour Party…how are you going to find the £8bn? You do not know for certain what the economy will be like?

JH: No, we don’t…

Jeremy Hunt, BBC Breakfast, Saturday 11th April 2015

17.

Interviewer: So at best, you are saying this is guesswork?

JH: …no, it’s not guesswork at all. We are absolutely confident and certain but .. if you don’t want to take that confidence at face value, look at our track record.

Jeremy Hunt, BBC Breakfast, Saturday 11th April 2015

18.

Interviewer: Do you make this stuff up as you go along, because only a week ago the NHS was talked about in the leaders’ debate and Cameron made no mention of this £8bn, have you just sat back and gone we’ve got to make the Labour Party look at big shabby and up the numbers a bit?

JH: If I may say so, I think that is a little bit disrespectful to a process that has been happening in the NHS since a year ago when Simon Stevens arrived

Jeremy Hunt, BBC Breakfast, Saturday 11th April 2015

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