The Shadow Health Secretary has admitted Labour wouldn’t be able to implement all the changes they’d like to - if they win the next General Election.
Wes Streeting said the UK’s finances are in a mess because the Tories have “crashed” the economy, and admitted it means Keir Starmer often “said no” to future policy ideas he has.
Speaking to GB News this morning (Sunday) Mr Streeting also admitted Labour would use the private sector to help solve the NHS chaos, and that he’d say no to a 19 per cent rise for nurses.
He told Camilla Tominey Today: “We're not talking about privatising the NHS, but we are talking about using spare private sector capacity in the short term to deal with the biggest backlog in the history of the NHS.
That’s because at the moment, we've got a two tier healthcare system in this country. We have those who can afford to pay to go private, and those who can't, and they are waiting longer.
The Shadow Health Secretary has admitted Labour wouldn’t be able to implement all the changes they’d like to - if they win the next General Election. Stefan Rousseau
“I don't think it's a principled position to leave people who can't afford it waiting longer - so we would use the private sector capacity to bring down the NHS waiting lists faster.”
On the opposition some have to the idea he continued: “Lots of doctors do private practice alongside their work in the NHS, which is why the capacity is there. If doctors are saying they'll give up their private practice and throw all their hours into the NHS, well, that'd be wonderful. But I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon.
Whenever reform is proposed, it's always met with opposition from somewhere and you can’t just give up reform because someone's opposed to it, you wouldn't get anything done.
“We are having to reform the NHS, but I'm afraid the public finances are in such a mess because the Conservatives have crashed the economy and poorly managed the economy for more than a decade now, which means that the money is scarce and public finances are tight.”
Admitting how this restricts what Labour can do he said: “We are not going to be able to do everything for everyone, everywhere. There are some things that we will probably like to do, but simply won't be able to do as fast as we like, unless we get the economy growing again.
The public finances are going to be a mess and what we don't want to do is do what the Conservatives have done.
“The tax burden is already at its highest in 70 years. And that's why we've got to get the economy growing again so that we can invest in our public services without hitting people with more punitive tax rises.”
Wes Streeting joined Camilla Tominey on GB News GB News
Revealing how this leads to his plans often being rejected by the Labour leader he said: “We want to keep promises that the country can afford.
That will mean some difficult choices. And believe me as a member of the Shadow Cabinet there are plenty of times when Keir Starmer, and Rachael Reeves say no to me, because they've got other choices to make because the public finances are in such a mess. And I understand that.”
On nurses' pay he said: “I'm afraid I did have to say to the nurses, however much I totally sympathise with their pay claim, that we wouldn’t be able to get the 19%. But we did say we would sit down and negotiate.
I think that's what the government should do. And that’s what I was so disappointed about before Christmas.
Refusing to give a figure he added: “I think I think I'd lose my job if I gave a figure. I do understand the pressure that nurses are under the junior doctors are under. I have to say if I were going into those negotiations, my focus would be on the lower paid staff in the NHS on the lower pay bands, the poorly paid nurses and the junior doctors.”