'Why Can't You Level With People?' Trevor Phillips Corners Minister Over Campaign Promises

"This is the kind of thing that makes people disillusioned with politics," he said.
Victoria Atkins was questioned on Sky News over Tory campaign promises
Victoria Atkins was questioned on Sky News over Tory campaign promises
Sky News

Trevor Phillips questioned health secretary Victoria Atkins over her party’s promises today and asked her why the Conservatives cannot “level with people” over what they can feasibly achieve in office.

The health secretary was on the media round this morning to promote the Tory pledge to build 100 new GP surgeries in England and boost the number of available appointments if they win the general election.

But, on the Sky News’ programme, Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, the presenter demolished these Tory pledges in an awkward interview with the cabinet minister.

Phillips said: “These announcements sound good but they’re tiny in comparison to the need.”

He continued: ″All these things are rather marginal.

“Why don’t you level with people? Because this is the kind of thing that makes people disillusioned with politics, isn’t it?

“Why don’t you level with people that if you’re back in office, there’s no money left.

“Jeremy Hunt is pretty much saying that.

“His plan says departments – not yours – with have to make cuts, but why can’t you just level with people and say the truth is there are many things we can’t do just because we don’t have the money.

“Rather than offering promises that we’re going to get more GP appointments, be able to get dentists and so on, when you know that’s not true.”

Atkins said people are finding easier to book a GP appointment already under the Conservatives’ plans, and pointed to the community diagnostic centres.

She also said: “We provide 2.56m more out-patient appointments now than we did when we came into office in 2010, and we inherited the NHS from Labour.

“The scale of the NHS has grown enormously over the last 14 years.”

But Phillips claimed that worked out to around 8% growth since 2010. With exasperation, he added: “Come on!”

Elsewhere in the interview, Phillips also said the government’s pharmacy expansion plans would mean giving them “more work and less money”.

But, Atkins disputed that, saying: “We have funded Pharmacy First to the tune of £645m.”

“Are you really doing it at the scale that the problem you’ve identified demands?” Phillips pushed.

He also said the bonus being offered to dentists joining the NHS costing around £5m – “that’s the sum the NHS will have spent during the first 15 minutes of this programme.”

He added: “You really aren’t tackling the problem.”

Trevor Phillips, "How are pharmacists supposed to do this when they have have had a real terms funding cut of about 16% in the last year"

Victoria Atkins, "This is part of my reforms to the NHS to make it faster, simpler and fairer"

TP, "You're giving pharmacists more work and… pic.twitter.com/IhJJkmTa3v

— Farrukh (@implausibleblog) June 2, 2024

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