Thursday, 11 November 2010


UUP health policy has managed to become even more confused.  Previously their finance spokesperson, David McNarry argued against the ringfencing of health (twice) while others said UUP policy was:

"Health has been protected in England and Wales. The Ulster Unionist Party welcome this announcement and stresses that the same principle must be the case in Northern Ireland."

Yesterday Sammy Wilson proposed to provide the same protection to health spending as there is in England and Wales.  As Ian Parsley points out this means:

"Entirely in line with the rest of the UK, Health will be protected. Oh, and entirely in line also, social services and public safety won’t be."

However, it now appears that neither of these two positions was UUP policy.  They have now adopted a third and attacked the Wilson announcement.  Their health spokesperson, John McCallister, argues not simply for protection but for a £600m increase in health:

" and social care is underfunded in Northern Ireland to the tune of £600m compared with England - we believe this disparity must be rectified as part of the Budget discussions."

Over the 4 years of the CSR in strict cash terms this would require £2.4bn to be found for health (more with inflation).  This is higher than the revenue cuts of £2.2bn under the Coalition plans.  So one of the three UUP health funding policies is advocating increasing the cuts in all the other department by almost 110%.

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