Following a letter from Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow Health Secretary requesting information regarding ministerial statements about public expenditure on health,
In his reply to Andy Burnham, the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Andrew Dilnot states that he has written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt to clarify the figures being sued by ministers in statements they make to Parliament and the wider public arena.
In this letter, he discusses the statistical information gathered about the NHS and its budget; explaining to the Secretary of State:
“The most authoritative source of National Statistics on the subject would seem to be the Treasury publication Public Spending Statistics, and I note that these figures were used in a Department of Health Press Release in July 2012. The most recent update to those figures was published on 31 October but the July 2012 release gives a more detailed breakdown. I attach a note prepared by staff of the Statistics Authority summarising some of the relevant figures from the two Public Spending releases.”
He then goes on to clarify the position, admitting the fact that:
“On the basis of these figures, we would conclude that expenditure on the NHS in real terms was lower in 2011-12 than it was in 2009-10.”
But of course things are never clear cut when it comes to politics and actual reality, and so in keeping with the need to give Jeremy Hunt a ‘qualification’ allowing word games with the truth; he adds:
“Given the small size of the changes and the uncertainties associated with them, it might also be fair to say that real terms expenditure had changed little over this period.”
He goes on to ask, however:
The exchange of correspondence in full can be downloaded here, allowing the public to make up its own mind.
Source: Andy Burnham / Twitter