Ruth Davidson pledges Scottish Tories will protect NHS spending

Written by Tom Freeman on 4 March 2016 in News

Scottish Conservative conference 2016: Ruth Davidson challenges SNP to increase health spending in line with England

The Scottish Conservatives would guarantee to raise spending on the NHS in Scotland over the next five years, leader Ruth Davidson is expected to announce today.

In her speech to the party’s spring conference at Murrayfield, the Tory leader will call on the SNP to match the commitment, which would see spending rise by whatever is highest: inflation, 2 per cent in real terms, or any increase in funding provided by Westminster via the new fiscal framework.


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Davidson will say this equates to a rise of more than £1 billion by the end of the decade, because of uplifts to the health budget south of the border.

“The pressures in general practice, in recruitment, in capacity are only getting more intense and we must act.

“There is no way around this: if we want to maintain our NHS to the standards we rightly expect, then increased spending must be part of the solution,” she is expected to say.

According to figures from the Scottish Parliament, between 2010 and 2015 the budget of the NHS in Scotland increased from £11.18bn to £12.29, a cash increase of 9.4 per cent. Davidson will say it amounts to only one per cent in real terms, accusing the SNP of “failing to care” for the NHS.

Over the same period NHS spending in England increased from £100.4bn to £116.6bn, a real terms increase of around seven per cent.

The SNP said “creeping privatisation” threatens the future of Scottish health spending. SNP MSP Bob Doris said: “this Tory government are more interested in picking fights with junior doctors than getting on with the job of improving healthcare.”

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