Ashworth calls on Tories to create new watchdog for NHS “starved” of cash



Labour has demanded the government set up an independent body to ensure the NHS is given the money it needs after years of dodgy Tory claims over investment.

Jon Ashworth today called for the establishment of a new organisation which would make judgements on spending for a health service which has been “underfunded and understaffed” by David Cameron and Theresa May.

The shadow health secretary said the new watchdog could modelled on the lines of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, which was set up by George Osborne, and produces heavyweight fiscal reports at each Budget and Autumn Statement.

He issued the call after a series of seismic political controversies over NHS spending including the claim by backers of Brexit that Britain could recoup £350m a week for health spending if it withdrew from the EU – which key Leave campaigners subsequently distanced themselves from once they had won the referendum.

“The Tories have starved the NHS of the funding it needs. The Tories have cut public health budgets, slashed billions from social care budgets and everyday we see deterioration in standards. The NHS is simply underfunded and understaffed under the Tories,” Ashworth wrote today on Facebook.

“I believe people want certainty when it comes to NHS spending and they want our health service to be protected and sustained.

“Labour will do that. I believe we should have a clear rules for funding our NHS and proper assessment to ensure the NHS actually gets the funding it needs.”

Ashworth has also pledged to lead a “nationwide discussion” on how to deliver the rules and assessments he is seeking.

At the height of the last general election campaign and amid public concern over NHS spending the Tories pledged to provide funding of an extra £8bn a year above inflation by 2020. In July this year, however, a report by the Commons health select committee found the government increase was around £4.5bn.


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