Leading political figures in Pendle clashed over the National Health Service at the full meeting of Lancashire County Council on Thursday.
The council’s Cabinet member for health and well-being, County Coun. Azhar Ali – Labour’s candidate in Pendle at May’s General Election – moved a noticer of motion calling on the council to “oppose the privatisation and dismantling of the NHS and support the Private Members’ Bill being introduced by Clive Efford on November 21st in Parliament to repeal the Health and Social Care Act.
“Furthermore, it calls on all Lancashire MPs to vote and support this Bill.”
But Conservative County Coun. Paul White countered: “I am sick and tired of Pendle Labour’s rank hypocrisy on the NHS. They don’t care about it, they care about winning votes on it.
“I am fed up of the notion that we Conservatives don’t care about the NHS, when in fact it is Andrew Stephenson, Gordon Birtwistle, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems who have protected and invested in the NHS at Airedale, across Pendle and in Burnley.
“All of our families use the NHS, and I care just as passionately as anyone else that it is future fit and the best it can be.”
County Coun. Ali said: “Behind the Conservative’s rhetoric, the facts speak for themselves. By March 2013 this Government had put up for grabs £250 million of NHS services, 105 private firms had been granted contracts and a further £750 million of services were scheduled for tender that year.
“Andrew Stephenson’s Government came to power promising us the NHS would be safe in their hands and assuring us they’d protect it from the worst of their cuts but at every opportunity they have done what they can to run it down and sell it cheap.
“I’ve asked the Tory MP to have public debates on the NHS but he is running scared because he knows that services across the area are at risk of serious cuts from these Tory government cuts.”