In May last year, when the scale of UK's debt commitment was already known, then Health Secretary Alan Johnson was quizzed by "Independent" readers. On NHS spending:
- What cuts are going to be made to the NHS in these recession-hit times? LOUISE GRAYSON, HULL
None. We've protected NHS funding over the next two years, increasing front-line resources by 5.5 per cent each year.
Does "the next two years" mean 2010/11 and 2011/12? Analysis of last month's pre-budget report reveals that there will be a real-terms cut from 2011. ( "NHS will feel PBR pain, by John Appleby", Public Finance).
Of course, cuts by the Minister for Health in Westminster don't directly affect Wales. However, the careless (or clever) use of statistics by Mr Johnson should put us on our guard against similar statements from Labour spokespeople on non-devolved matters.