HC Deb 18 December 2003 vol 415 cc1702-3
2. Tony Cunningham (Workington) (Lab)

If he will make a statement on levels of public spending in West Cumbria. [144717]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Gordon Brown)

Investment in public services since 1997 has resulted in Cumbria gaining 400 extra teachers and more than 700 extra teaching support staff, while Cumbria and Lancashire have gained nearly 100 extra general practitioners and 1,600 more nurses.

Tony Cunningham

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. I hope that he will take the opportunity of coming to visit my constituency to see the success of the increased public spending. We have a new further education college, a new police station, four new roundabouts, a new bypass, two new Sure Start projects, and work has just started on the building of a new hospital. I am sure that he will agree that it is no coincidence that all that success has been achieved under a Labour Government.

Mr. Brown

I was going to offer my hon. Friend a Christmas present from the Treasury, but it is clear that he does not need one. He is absolutely right. In the typical constituency, £200 million more has been invested in each year since 1997. That has meant that we are able to pay for nurses, teachers, doctors and classroom assistants. The whole House will understand that that would not have been possible if we had reduced public spending by £80 billion, as the Conservatives plan.