Gazette – June 2013

Two weeks ago in your paper, Swansea-based Conservative AM Byron Davies made the extraordinary claim that the Welsh health budget is being cut by £534 million. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Before Whitsun, the Welsh Tories had been claiming that there would be a cut of £500 million in the Welsh health budget. They kept on saying this for months. We were all surprised after Whitsun when they claimed it was a cut of £800 million. As readers might expect, we challenged them on this, and they claimed they could verify that it was a figure of £814 million. Needless to say, we’ve never seen this verification.

We were surprised again then when two weeks ago, Byron claimed it had gone down to £534 million, only for his own leader to claim it was £812 million only four days later! This is what happens when you make figures up off the top of your head.

In reality, the Welsh health budget is being kept steady over the next three years, not cut. We also know that there are cuts of £20 billion taking place in health in England, except they’re being called “efficiencies” where whole A&E departments will face closure. This has to be seen against a backdrop of the substantial cuts theUKgovernment are making to the Welsh budget. Last week they did it again, taking 2% off the money we get in Wales to pay for health and other things. Far from taking money out of the health budget, the Welsh Government has protected the budget even as it gets less from London.

It’s just as well the Tories aren’t in charge of health inWales.