1 year, 1 month ago

NHS funding boost not at record levels

 The Prime Minister has repeatedly made claims that the NHS is set to receive £34 billion and described this in a number of ways: as the biggest spending increase in modern memory, or a “record sum” or the biggest boost for a generation.

It’s certainly not a record sum and whether or not you think this is the biggest increase in modern memory really depends on how good your memory is.

The £34 billion is a spending increase in real terms of £20.5 billion between 2018/19 and 2023/24 (this was first announced in July 2018). The last time spending increased by at least that amount in real terms was between 2004/05 and 2009/10, when it increased by £24 billion in real terms.

We've written more about this here

1 year, 1 month ago

Conservatives repeat misleading £2,400 cost of Labour figure

During his Conservative manifesto launch speech, Boris Johnson said Labour’s plans mean “higher taxes for everybody in this country, £2,400 extra.” The claim also appears in the Conservative manifesto.

This figure was first calculated by the Conservatives before the publication of Labour’s manifesto, so we called the calculation “largely meaningless”, as the Conservatives couldn’t know, at the time, exactly what Labour’s policies were.

Now that Labour’s manifesto has been published, we know it proposes £83 billion of increased spending by 2023/24. Labour has since announced compensation for the WASPI women at a cost of up to £58 billion in total (so an additional £11.5 billion per year).

If you divide that £83 billion figure by the number of income tax payers in the UK, it gives you a figure of roughly £2,600, or adding in the funding for WASPI women, the figure would be £3,000. But those figures are meaningless. They don’t mean that every income tax payer will have to pay this to fund the pledges.

That’s because Labour does not plan to fund its spending pledges through higher income tax for everybody (and even if it did, the cost would fall disproportionately on higher earners).

Labour doesn’t plan to raise income tax for those earning under £80,000 a year, and says that this increased spending will mainly be funded through taxes including corporation tax, a financial transactions tax, and higher income tax for those earning over £80,000 a year. 

The IFS says that “it is unlikely that one could raise the sums suggested by Labour from the tax policies they set out.” 

So Labour’s calculations have their problems, but it’s wrong to suggest that every income tax payer in the UK will fund every penny of Labour’s additional spending, and in equal amount.

1 year, 1 month ago

Please do-nut publish misleading charts

A leaflet from Catherine West, the Labour party candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green, includes the following doughnut chart as evidence that “only a vote for Labour can guarantee Johnson won’t enter 10 Downing Street again.”

It claims to show the result of the 2017 general election in the constituency. It’s correct that Ms West won 65.4% of the vote as the Labour candidate. But the rest of the doughnut chart being blue suggests that the Conservatives took the remaining 34.6% of the vote.

That’s misleading. The Liberal Democrats took 16.1% of the vote, the Conservatives took 14.8% and the Greens took 1.9%.

 

1 year, 1 month ago

Digesting the Conservative manifesto

Good afternoon. The big story yesterday was the launch of the Conservative manifesto, which we wrote about here

In particular we looked at how the pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers won’t restore the number lost since 2010, and how the pledge to recruit 50,000 “more nurses” hasn’t actually factored in the cost of eventually paying their salaries.

We’ve also examined comparisons between the day-to-day spending pledges of the three main UK parties. While the Conservatives have only pledged £3 billion a year of extra day-to-day spending in their manifesto, that doesn’t include pledges to increase spending on things like the NHS and schools made before the election. 

Today, among other things, we’re looking at other claims made yesterday on the Andrew Marr show from Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price on the support for Welsh independence, and Angela Rayner on how many women are in poverty because of the changes to state pension age.

We’ve also written about why Labour had to correct its broadband costings in its manifesto.

And from the Mail, please watch this amazing video of Michael Crick exposing a ruse from a Conservative party candidate.

1 year, 1 month ago

How comparable are the costings in the party manifestos?

Following the launch of the Conservative manifesto, journalists pointed out the big difference between the levels of increased current (day-to-day) spending promised by the three main parties.

It’s important to note that the manifestos (in general) do not include spending that will increase in the future but has already been announced. The costings for the Conservative manifesto only include new spending announcements made since the election was called.

For example, the Conservative manifesto spending list doesn’t include its already-announced pledges to:

  • Increase school funding in England, worth £4.3 billion per year by 2022/23 (the Conservatives wrongly give a higher figure by ignoring inflation and adding up multiple years.) 
  • Increase spending on the NHS averaging £20.5 billion per year (again the Conservatives use a higher figure which ignores inflation).
  • Recruit more police officers at a cost of £1 billion from 2019 to 2020. 

So while the Conservatives plan to increase annual current spending by £3 billion compared to what’s already been announced, overall they plan to spend a lot more than £3 billion extra per year than we spend today. 

It’s not clear to what extent the other parties would continue all of the previous spending commitments made by the government.

Since the Labour party manifesto was launched, they have also announced a major spending commitment on women’s pensions which was not mentioned in the manifesto.