Dan Poulter urges government to spend more on under pressure NHS
PUBLISHED: 14:33 11 July 2017
The government must invest “a little bit more” in key public services, a Suffolk Tory MP has warned putting him at odds with the Prime Minister.
Dr Dan Poulter urged his party to reconsider the issue as he told MPs public services were “under real pressure”.
Earlier this week teachers were denied a pay rise above the 1% cap that has been in place for public sector staff since 2010.
The Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP – who also works part time as an NHS doctor – was speaking during a debate in Westminster Hall on balancing public finances brought by former Conservative chief whip Mark Harper.
Dr Poulter said: “He’s right to highlight the importance of jobs, growth and apprenticeships and things that should be at the forefront of any general election debate in any normal time.
“But would he also agree with me that public services are under real pressure at the moment and I think we have to recognise that and I speak as someone who works in those public services and I see that in my working life there.
“And according to the latest forecast, the target, a structural deficit of less than 2% of national income in 2020/21 would be comfortably met by sticking to the current tax and spending plans, so there is about £25 billion pounds worth of leeway to invest a little bit more in those very important public services while at the time paying down the deficit in a responsible manner.”
Austerity has become a hot topic since the general election with some cabinet members calling for a loosening of the public sector pay cap. But in recent days both the Chancellor Philip Hammond and Prime Minister Theresa May have signalled a need to continue with fiscal conservatism.
Speaking after the debate Dr Poulter added: “While there is still more work to be done in reducing the deficit and getting our public finances under control, there is now greater financial headroom to spend more on important public services like schools and the NHS.
“In Suffolk, our schools need more money and a fairer national schools funding formula, and the time is now right to increase spending on education for the benefit of local pupils.”
After the announcement that teachers faced another year of pay restraint unions warned of a classroom staffing crisis with more people set to quit.