HC Deb 28 January 1999 vol 324 c472
10. Ms Joan Ryan (Enfield, North)

If he will make a statement about the overall level of public spending on the major public services for the next three years. [66523]

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Alan Milburn)

Over the next three years the Government will spend an extra £40 billion on modernising the United Kingdom's health services and on raising standards in education.

The spending increases on our key priorities are in the context of prudent expenditure plans overall. Spending is now linked to achievement of clear objectives and targets, as set out in the public service agreements for each Department.

Ms Ryan

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. My constituents warmly welcome the extra money that the Government have put into our vital public services. That means that, because my constituents are under Enfield and Haringey health authority, we have had an extra £3 million to deal with waiting lists. Our waiting lists will be down by 3,000 by March. The extra £2 million of winter pressures money, which is a new development introduced by this Government, has meant that, over the past two winters, our accident and emergency departments have coped well and have not had to close their doors at any point.

Will my right hon. Friend guarantee that he will pay absolutely no heed—no heed at all—to the Conservative party's proposals, which would cut public funding, damage my constituents and damage the people of Britain?

Mr. Milburn

Yes, I can give my hon. Friend that commitment. Her constituents are now seeing the benefit of this Government's prudent management of public finances, and extra investment will be made from April this year. The question that they are all asking is "What on earth would happen to the health service and our schools if, heaven help us, the Conservative party ever returned to power?"