MP’s fears over NHS funding rise

Sir Edward Leigh.
Sir Edward Leigh.

Market Rasen MP Sir Edward Leigh has revealed he is ‘very worried’ about the Government’s plans to increase spending on the NHS.

During a speech in the House of Commons on the ‘balance of public spending’ Sir Edward raised concerns about increasing NHS spending, a lack of spending on defence, funding for Lincolnshire Police - and the county’s pothole problem, which he said the Government ‘must address’.

Sir Edward Leigh MP EMN-170212-065401001 EMN-170212-065401001

Sir Edward Leigh MP EMN-170212-065401001 EMN-170212-065401001

Sir Edward said: “I understand that the Government are now looking closely at a significant increase in real-terms spending on the NHS...I am very worried about this proposal.

“It worries me that if we substantially increase NHS spending in real terms, we will simply add to that level of bureaucracy.

“I wonder why our Government are not prepared to bite the bullet and consider alternative funding for the NHS.”

Sir Edward suggested tax relief for people of pensionable age towards private health insurance.

He then said: “What worries me about my own Conservative Government is that an ever-increasing share of public spending is taken up by the NHS, social security and overseas aid.”

Sir Edward told MPs the Ministry of Defence was ‘underfunded’ and that there was a ‘general consensus’ we 
must increase spending in this area.

He said: “We cannot increase spending on defence unless we are prepared not to spend as much as we would like in other areas, such as health.”

He added: “I would argue that not only is spending more on defence in an increasingly dangerous world the right thing to do, but it is a politically sensible and popular thing to do.”

And later in his speech Sir Edward told the House about Lincolnshire’s pothole problem.

He said: “Our roads in Lincolnshire are full of potholes. This is an important point, because people are driving at 50 or 60 mph in the middle of the road to avoid potholes, and 500 people are being killed or are injured in some form on our roads locally.

“These are really important issues, and the Government must address them.

“They must not forget the pressures that people face in rural counties.”

The MP also said he believed it was important to increase funding for policing.

He said: “Lincolnshire is one of the lowest funded police authorities in the country—it is in the bottom three or four—and for 35 years we have been having meetings with Policing Ministers and begging for more resources.

“There is plenty of crime in Lincolnshire that I could talk about.

“I could even talk about my own personal experience of crime.

“It is a real issue. We clearly have to increase the resources for police funding.”