Apologies. My information was wrong. The coalition document does protect health spending in real terms for each year of the parliament.
“The parties agree that funding for the NHS should increase in real terms in each year of the next parliament, while recognising the impact that this decision would have on other departments.
My piece was based on a draft of the agreement. Not sure what the “recognising the impact on other departments means. But Cameron’s promise stands.
The coalition document is yet to be published. But I’ve been told that the ring-fence on NHS funding has been lifted. The exact wording is:
“We will increase NHS spending in every year of the parliament.”
This meets the Lib Dem policy of not protecting any department from public spending cuts, while guaranteeing that health funding will at least be flat in cash terms . The Tory manifesto had, of course, promised real terms increases in the health budget.
But the politics is important. This was Cameron’s totemic health pledge, plastered on posters around the country. Now he will be cutting the deficit and health spending (at least in real terms).