Labour: Tory spending plans have £34bn black hole

Labour today accused the Conservatives of having a £34bn hole in their spending plans as the Tories outlined their election platform for health and social care.

The Conservatives’ draft manifesto for health reiterated its commitment to protect NHS spending in real terms and retain attendance allowance for disabled older people amid government proposals to merge the benefit into adult social care budgets.

It also restated key social care pledges include establishing integrated personal budgets for people with long-term conditions and allowing people to make a one-off payment to insure themselves against the costs of residential care.

During a speech at Westminster, party leader David Cameron said: “We are the only party committed to protecting NHS spending. It’s there in black and white behind me. I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.

“And don’t for one minute buy the Labour claim that they’ll do the same. They won’t – and their own figures show they won’t.”

However, Labour claimed the Tories’ spending plans had a “credibility gap”.

Using figures culled from the Conservatives or from public sources, such as Treasury official costings, Labour said it estimated there was an estimated £34bn hole in the overall plans.

It said that if the Conservatives went ahead with plans to halve the public sector deficit “further and faster” than Labour then it would need to find a further £26bn in cuts or tax rises.

Last year independent experts the Institute for Fiscal Studies said that if the Conservatives fulfilled their pledges to protect NHS spending and increase international aid spending to 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product, spending in other areas, including social care, would have to fall by 4.9% in real terms by 2011 to 2014.

However, following last month’s pre-budget report, the IFS said spending on areas including social care would have to fall by 4% in real terms from 2011-14 on the basis of current Labour proposals.

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