Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Wednesday, 5 December 2012

PMQs: Cameron and Miliband clash on NHS spending

Prime Minister David Cameron has clashed with opposition leader Ed Miliband over whether the government is meeting its pledge to increase spending on the NHS in England faster than inflation every year until the next general election in 2015.

At Mr Cameron's weekly Commons question session on 5 December 2012, Mr Miliband drew attention to a recent ruling by the UK Statistics Authority, which has found that real-terms health spending was lower in 2011-12 than in 2009-10.

The Labour leader said of the PM: "He made a promise that he would keep the NHS budget rising in real terms in every year of the Parliament."

The previous Labour government had left behind a "rising health budget, and this prime minister cut it", Mr Miliband said.

But Mr Cameron disputed this analysis, claiming that NHS spending had dipped in 2010-11 as a consequence of Labour's policies.

The general election in 2010 took place after the financial year had begun, the PM noted.

Mr Miliband had therefore scored "the biggest own goal I've ever seen", Mr Cameron concluded.

But the Labour leader accused his opposite number of delivering "slippery" answers, "even by his standards".

Reversing one of the Conservative Party's central 2010 campaign pledges, Mr Miliband accused the government of cutting the NHS and not the deficit.

But the PM replied: "He's 100% wrong." The deficit had gone down by 25%, and NHS spending would be higher under the coalition than under Labour, he said.

"Unlike the party opposite, we're on the side of people who work hard and do the right thing," Mr Cameron said.

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