HC Deb 27 July 1979 vol 971 cc685-6W
Mr. Moyle

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is advising health authorities to cut manpower, purchase of supplies, purchase of equipment, or reduce services to patients, or a combination of such cuts and reductions, in order to meet the increase in value added tax on purchases of supplies in this list with representatives of the medical profession.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will give the date when prescription charges were first introduced and the amounts imposed; on what dates and by what amounts adjustments were made on items added; and, taking the £ as having a purchasing value of 100p on the original date, to what extent the increase or adjustments have maintained or exceeded the original charges, including the recently announced further increases.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

The table below gives the information requested, but comparisons are possible only from 1956 when the practice of charging for each item on prescription was introduced.

and equipment for the National Health Service, in the light of the fact that cash limits for the National Health Service were agreed before such increases in value added tax were imposed.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

As I made clear in the Supply Day debate on 17 July, it is not for me or my Department to tell health authorities where and how to make their savings, but as responsible authorities it is up to them to look at their priorities carefully and make savings where they do least harm to patient care. Cash limits for the NHS have already been significantly overtaken before the increase in VAT in the Budget; around 60 per cent. of the total estimated squeeze of £90 million to £100 million is attributable to decisions made by the previous Administration.