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David Cameron defends NHS and overseas aid pledges

_39187099_twh_ban2_629A pre-recorded interview with David Cameron is about to be broadcast on Radio 4's Westminster Hour (my favourite political programme).  We were sent an advance transcript of the interview - conducted by Carolyn Quinn - and a few verbatim highlights are posted below:

Increasing NHS spending: "First of all why ring fence the NHS? Um, I think it’s important for – for two reasons. One is it’s quite clear to me that the costs in health are going up in any event. The costs of an aging population, the costs of new treatments that come on stream, the costs of the drugs budget. The costs of – of - of children born with disabilities, many, who thankfully, are surviving for – for longer, but a huge cost there... I just think the NHS is incredibly important to the country. It’s a very important institution and so I think ring fencing its budget and saying there will at least be real terms increases. Let me say though, we’ll still have to try and create a much more efficient NHS, because it will be those efficiency savings that will pay for the improvements in the NHS we want to see. That’s the argument there."

(ConservativeHome has invited Andrew Lansley to make the case for ringfencing NHS spending on Platform and I hope that will happen towards the end of the month.  ConHome has argued that only frontline NHS services should be protected).

Moving aid spending towards the target of 0.7% of GDP: "Well, I think the pledge is the right one to make and that’s why we’ve made it and that’s why we will stick to it. I mean it just seems to me that this is something that the British people want to put beyond Party politics... I think that the British people want this to be something that the whole of the country is signed up to. If you look to the response to Live Aid, if you look at the response to Comic Relief, even in recession, even in difficult times, they are raising record sums of money. And I think that the desire of the British people not to give up on our historic generosity to those in less well off, in other parts of the world, it is there and I think we should stick to that. Now it may not be popular with everybody but I happen to think it’s the right thing to do."

Tim Montgomerie

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