NHS funding levels should be checked by the government’s budget watchdog amid public distrust of the figures and a worsening winter crisis in hospitals, John McDonnell has said.
The shadow chancellor wrote to Robert Chote, head of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), asking him to look at NHS funding levels, as doctors warned that the shortage of resources in health and social care has created a crisis.
There have been a number of calls from Labour and the Liberal Democrats for an independent auditor for the NHS. But McDonnell called on the existing OBR to see if it could establish the truth about public spending on the NHS.
The level of NHS funding has become hotly contested amid claims that cuts to social care have been causing unprecedented pressure on hospitals and further controversy over the government’s claims to be putting in another £10bn a year into the health service by the end of this parliament.
“It has become clear that Labour’s warnings of a looming winter crisis in the NHS were not heeded,” McDonnell wrote to Chote. “And we have seen in recent days that the British Red Cross has now had to describe the ongoing situation as a humanitarian crisis. The response from the prime minister at the weekend was to play down this situation despite the volume of continued complaints from frontline NHS staff.“I strongly believe that this is leading to widespread public distrust in the government’s presentation of the level of funding and...
UK Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for a "radical federal" UK.
The move would signal a major change in the UK Labour Party's position when it comes to the constitutional settlement in Britain.
The Sunday Herald has also learned that other senior figures in Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet are also looking at formally adopting federalism as party policy.
Last night, McDonnell, Corbyn's closest ally, gave the clearest indication yet that Labour will legislate for the UK to become a federal state if it wins the next General Election.
Speaking to the Sunday Herald, McDonnell said: “I believe there is immense potential in developing a radical federal structure [for the UK].”
Meanwhile, former London mayor Ken Livingstone told the Sunday Herald he was "certain" Labour under Corbyn would embrace federalism. Livingstone also stated his own support a federal UK - which would be the most radical shake-up of the UK's constitution since devolution.
The left winger, who was also elected twice as London mayor, said that he was convinced Corbyn and McDonnell would promote federalism as an alternative to both Scottish independence and the status quo of the Union.
Livingstone said: "I'm certain that they will. John McDonnell like me came into politics from local government to make sure that wealth and power are fairly distributed across all regions."
Federalism - a policy so far only embraced by the Lib Dems at UK level - would see national parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland...
This report's warning that wealth inequality is set to rise is deeply worrying. It further highlights why this is the wrong time for the Tories to go ahead with £2.3billion worth of inheritance tax giveaways that would at most benefit 63,000 estates.
The Chancellor should not be pushing ahead with policies that could contribute to an increase in wealth inequality and further reward those already well off in our country, especially at a time when many of our public services such as the NHS are being hit with cuts that have led to rising waiting times and bed shortages.
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