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Dawn Primarolo: I have listened carefully to the points that the hon. Gentleman has made, and he has so far produced a list of large spending commitments, over and above the Government's spending. I hope that he will tell us what policies his party has to raise the tens of billions of pounds that he thinks should be spent.

Mr. Bone: I certainly will if I get time, but the Minister is being a little unfair—[Hon. Members: "Surely not."] Surely. I was arguing that there should be a fairer distribution of the revenue support grant.

Mr. Gauke: I suspect that part of the costs to which the Paymaster General referred related to the loss of occupational pensions, which the Government constantly say will cost £15 billion to put right. Does my hon. Friend agree that it would be interesting if the Government could explain later in the debate how they reached that figure?

Mr. Bone: As I understand it, the sum each year is not very much and there have been several suggestions as to how it might be covered.

Policing and law and order are huge issues in my constituency. We shall be talking about extra policemen—and before the Minister jumps up again, I shall tell her how we would pay for them. People in my constituency want local policing; they want to see more police on the beat, catching criminals and deterring people from crime. The Government are doing exactly the reverse. They have come up with police support officers, but that money should be spent on real policemen.

The Government talk about local policing, yet in my constituency the proposed amalgamation for an east midlands force means that we shall lose our local area. Our chief superintendent, who was based in Wellingborough, is now based in Kettering, and that east midlands force will cost millions and millions of pounds. Why not scrap the idea of regional police forces and spend the money on extra police officers?

There has been much talk about education and about how much extra is being put into the education budget. Well, we are not seeing it in Wellingborough. Under the Labour Government, a Labour-controlled county council demolished John Lea secondary school. The sale of the site, including the school playing fields, raised £11 million, yet only £2 million was reinvested in my constituency. The destruction of that school means that all the town's other secondary schools have
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overcrowded classes, and people moving into the town with teenage children have problems finding a school for them.

Thousands and thousands of new dwellings are being built in my constituency, but where on earth will the children go to school? There are not enough schools. Despite all the talk about education, education, education, it is certainly not happening in Wellingborough.

Ed Balls: In the hon. Gentleman's opinion, would the people of Wellingborough support the Government's proposal that we should raise the level of state spending to the level of private school spending, or would they agree with the shadow Chief Secretary that that would be throwing money away?

Mr. Bone: I really am grateful for that intervention, because the people of Wellingborough do not believe anything the Government say about education—[Interruption.] They have seen a secondary school knocked down, but they have seen no more money, and they are having to sack teachers from primary and infant schools. [Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman. Could Members on the Front Benches contain their discussions until they catch my eye?

Mr. Bone: Perhaps I should move away from education, Mr. Deputy Speaker, as it was causing a bit of concern, but I shall finish the point I was making, as the hon. Member for Normanton (Ed Balls) wanted a reply.

I do not believe a word that the Government say about education. I do not believe that any extra money will go into education in Wellingborough. The Government's history over the past nine years is that in Wellingborough educational provision has gone down. It may be great in the hon. Gentleman's constituency but it is not in mine, and the Government should take that into account. Wellingborough should receive its fair share of education spending.

The most important issue in Wellingborough is the health service. As many Members have said, the Chancellor did not mention the health service at all. I am not really surprised. Dentistry in Wellingborough has been privatised, and I saw no commitment in the Labour party manifesto to do that. There were far more NHS dentists in Wellingborough in 1997 than there are today. If people can find an NHS dentist who will take them on, it is almost a miracle. On GP appointments, we have one of the lowest ratios of doctors to patients in the United Kingdom, and it was much better in 1997.

The most important problem in the area relates to Kettering general hospital. There is no hospital in Wellingborough, and we should have a community hospital there. We hear that the Government are in favour of community hospitals, but there is no money for one in Wellingborough. However, the Government have a very useful formula for funding the NHS to make it fair across the country. That is a very good idea. The only problem is that when they announced that funding, they provided my area with only 85 per cent. of what the
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funding formula says the sum should be. [Interruption.] Labour Members may argue about that, but I am told that the reason why that happens is that other areas get more money.

I am pleased that other areas get more than their formula share, but that is not good enough for the people of Wellingborough. All the talk of the formula and funding may not really mean anything to the people of Wellingborough, but when the local hospital must cancel 3,000 out-patient appointments and 600 operations, close a ward and an operating theatre, and transfer nurses from one area to another, that is when it comes home to roost.

Rob Marris: May I gently suggest to the hon. Gentleman that he check his figures on the formula funding in Wellingborough? I think that he will find that from 1 April 2007, no primary care trust in England will be below 95 per cent. of formula. I very much doubt whether his PCT is currently 15 per cent. off formula, because I think that I am right in saying that no PCT in England is anywhere near 10 per cent. off formula. So I urge him in his litany of doom and gloom for Wellingborough—it does sound dismal—to check his figures on the NHS.

Mr. Bone: The figure that I cite has never been challenged locally. In fact, I am told that it translates into £21 million less for the local hospital. I am pleased to hear that progress will be made, but the Government always promise jam in the future, and I really do not believe it.

Let me quickly consider some of the people who have been affected by the Government's action. I shall give some examples of what the Government have meant to patients in Wellingborough. Miss Major has been in agony. She has been admitted to the accident and emergency department on three or four occasions. She needs an operation. The operation was planned, but it was cancelled because of the cuts. Someone in my constituency is in agony, because of the cuts forced on us by the Government. Mrs. Baddock had to wait more than six months for her operation, yet the Government say that no one is waiting more than six months for an NHS operation. What they say and reality are completely the reverse. Mrs. Cutting has a heart complaint. In September 2005, she was told that she needed an electrocardiogram. I should not have thought that an ECG was a particularly difficult thing to arrange, but she has been told that she will not have one until November 2006. She has pointed out to me that it will be four years from when she first fell ill to when she gets any treatment whatsoever.

Last night a constituent phoned me and said, "My father has to have a heart bypass. He had a heart attack in June 2005. Four times he's been admitted to hospital, Four times he's been ready for the operation, and four times it has been cancelled because of staff shortages." That is the reality of the NHS in my area.

The Minister challenged me on how we would fund some of the extra commitments. Well, first, I congratulate the Government on scoring a century. Under their leadership, since 1997, £100 billion of
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taxpayers' money has been sent to the European Union—that so-called free trade area. Can they explain why £100 billion has to go to the European Union to provide a free trade area? If only half of that money had been left in this country, they could have met all the funding commitments without any problem whatsoever.

This Government have failed us; this Chancellor has failed us. Whatever this Budget was, it was not a Budget for Wellingborough.

5.15 pm

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