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Michael Fabricant (Lichfield): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order to have a summing up of a Budget debate in which absolutely nothing is said about the Budget?

Mr. Speaker: The Chief Secretary is in order. Had he been out of order, I would have let him know about it.

Mr. Smith: The hon. Gentleman has to accept, as indeed do his right hon. and hon. Friends, that the future of the NHS is the central issue of the Budget for the people of this country as well as for Members of the House. With this Conservative threat, people want to know how much they would have to pay for an operation or a visit to a GP.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr. Smith: I give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Mr. Martlew).

Michael Fabricant: Coward.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman should withdraw that remark. Calling any hon. Member a coward is unparliamentary.

Michael Fabricant: Of course I withdraw. It is not at all cowardly to give way to a Labour Member but not to a Conservative Member.

Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle): I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving way to a Labour Member for the first time. Perhaps the House could calm down.

23 Apr 2002 : Column 247

This is a constituency issue regarding taxation, but it is very important. I totally agree with the Government's policy of raising taxation for the NHS, but I believe that it is as important to collect taxes as it is to raise them. Yesterday, the owner of Carlisle United announced that he was going to take the club out of the Football League. I understand that the club and Carlisle United Holdings owe in excess of £700,000 in taxation. Will my right hon. Friend look into the matter? Is not it a fact that if more people paid the tax that they owed, we would have a better health service?

Mr. Smith: I can well understand my hon. Friend's worries and the concern that the matter must be causing his constituents. He will understand that, consistent with long-standing practice, I cannot comment on the affairs of any individual taxpayer. I shall draw his remarks to the attention of the Inland Revenue and, if appropriate, to the Department of Trade and Industry.

Chris Grayling: Will the Minister give the people of my constituency—the head teachers, the police and the people running the health service—a firm commitment that the money he will take away from them in extra national insurance contributions will be refunded by the Government this time next year? Or will we lose teaching posts as a result of his actions?

Mr. Smith: A spending review is under way. As the hon. Gentleman can see from the figures that we have presented, we have put £5 billion extra into 2003–04 expenditure, and in the following two years there will be a 2.5 per cent. real-terms increase in non-health spending.

Matthew Taylor: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Smith: No, I must make progress.

I was making a point about the opportunities that the shadow Chancellor has had to clear up the uncertainty about the health service. He had the chance this evening to answer four simple questions about his policies—questions that any serious Opposition party must be able to answer about such an important issue for the country.

The shadow Chancellor points to aspects of performance in Denmark and Germany that he says he admires. What features of their system does he therefore want us to adopt? He would say nothing about that tonight. He said he recognises that the NHS needs more resources, but he did not say how much would be required in terms of extra resources and where those resources would come from. He says that our proposed reforms will not work, but what alternative reforms does he have in mind? He will not tell us. Most important, he would not give us a commitment to an NHS that is free to all at the point of need. He has refused to deny the comments of his health spokesman that the Tories plan to introduce charges for health care. He has therefore been unable to rule out introducing charges.

The British people will draw a very simple conclusion from this evening's debate: while this Government are investing in a reformed NHS that is free to all at the point of need, the real Tory agenda is to break up the NHS, to

23 Apr 2002 : Column 248

force people into having private medical insurance and to introduce charges for health care. That is the Tory agenda that dare not speak its name.

Mr. Howard: Is the Chief Secretary aware that most right hon. and hon. Members would expect him, in his winding-up speech, to defend the Budget? Has this Budget become, for him, the truth that dare not speak its name?

Mr. Smith: It is evident to the whole House that the central issue in this Budget, and a key issue facing the country, is the funding of our national health service and how we secure its principles for the future. That is the biggest question facing the country—whether or not we maintain a consensus for an NHS that is comprehensive and free at the point of need.

Matthew Taylor: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Smith: I am afraid I cannot.

The shadow Chancellor asked about all the other policies in the Budget. I am proud of everything that we do to maintain stability in place of the boom and bust under the Tories. If he wants me to speak about the measures that we are bringing forth to stimulate enterprise—cutting the 10p rate on small companies to zero, and cutting the corporation tax rate—I would like to do so if I had more time.

Matthew Taylor rose

Mr. Smith: The key issue before us is that on Budget day the Chancellor appealed for an all-party consensus to renew our national health service. Labour Members want a consensus on an NHS that is free and available to all, which has served for the past 50 years, to be reaffirmed for the next 50 years. The shadow Chancellor, however, refuses to join this consensus.

In the days since the Budget, not a single shadow Cabinet member has said that they still believe in an NHS that is accessible to all and free at the point of need. In public, they are unwilling to defend any alternative policy. Instead, they talk vaguely about examining other systems, and spend their time travelling around Europe without ever arriving at a public decision. For the truth of their policies, we have to rely on what they say in private. In private, they talk of breaking up the NHS and introducing charges for patients—heading not even towards a European system of social insurance but towards an American system of charging. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health said, that is an example of travel narrowing the mind.

This Budget reaffirms the basic principles of the NHS. It combines enterprise with fairness, and it is supported by the British people. I commend this Budget to the House.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 408, Noes 155.

23 Apr 2002 : Column 249

Division No. 213
[10 pm


AYES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald
(Swansea E)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Barnes, Harry
Barrett, John
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Stuart
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Breed, Colin
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L
Brown, Rt Hon Gordon
(Dunfermline E)
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burnham, Andy
Burstow, Paul
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Cable, Dr Vincent
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Cairns, David
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Caplin, Ivor
Carmichael, Alistair
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Charles
(Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
(Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis–Thomas, Mrs Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, Rt Hon John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Doughty, Sue
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Ewing, Annabelle
Farrelly, Paul
Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead)
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foulkes, George
Francis, Dr Hywel
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St Ives)
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, Rt Hon Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harris, Dr Evan (Oxford W)
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Dai
Healey, John
Heath, David
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hermon, Lady
Hewitt, Rt Hon Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Holmes, Paul
Hood, Jimmy
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Irranca–Davies, Huw
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Jowell, Rt Hon Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Keetch, Paul
Kelly, Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kirkwood, Archy
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laws, David
Laxton, Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lucas, Ian
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall–Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Moore, Michael
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Estelle
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan
Oaten, Mark
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Price, Adam
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr John
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, Rt Hon Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Rt Hon Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Joan
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simon, Siôn
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, Rt Hon John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Rt Hon Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Dr Richard (Wyre F)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Tynan, Bill
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
Weir, Michael
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wishart, Pete
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mrs. Anne McGuire and
Mr. Nick Ainger.


NOES


Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John
Beggs, Roy
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cash, William
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
(Rushcliffe)
Clifton–Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan, Alan (Rutland & Melton)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, Rt Hon Iain
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fox, Dr Liam
Francois, Mark
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gray, James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat–Amory, Rt Hon David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paisley, Rev Ian
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Prisk, Mark
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (Mid–Norfolk)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, David
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:


Mrs. Cheryl Gillan and
Dr. Julian Lewis.

Question accordingly agreed to.

23 Apr 2002 : Column 252

Resolved,


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