Owen Smith puts his tinfoil hat on this morning to tell Labour voters that there is “a secret Tory plan to privatise the NHS”. Oily claims that under the Tories there has been “an explosion of privatisation” and that he “warned” against it. Is he telling the truth?
Fact-check 1: “explosion of privatisation”
In truth, the rate of growth in use of the private sector as a proportion of the NHS budget has slowed significantly since 2010. And the vast majority of NHS outsourcing took place under the last Labour government. “An explosion of privatisation” under the Tories is a big Oily porkie.
Fact-check 2: Owen Smith “warned” against privatisation
As a Pfizer lobbyist Smith called on his Labour government to improve incentives for the pharmaceutical industry. In 2006, when he was standing as a Labour candidate, Smith said this about NHS privatisation:
“Where they can bring good ideas, where they can bring valuable services that the NHS is not able to deliver, and where they can work alongside but subservient to the NHS and without diminishing in any respect the public service ethos of the NHS, then I think that’s fine. I think if their involvement means in any way, shape or form the break up of the NHS, then I’m not a fan of it, but I don’t think it does.”
Smith’s speech today is the same old tired and failed attack line used by Miliband and Burnham. It has even less merit coming from Oily given his previous Blairite pro-privatisation proclamations. Remember Corbynistas, Owen Smith believes privatising parts of the NHS is “fine”…