In the midst of dealing with his latest gaffe (in this case meaning making an apparent spending commitment without clearing it with Osborne first) he said this, quoted by Sky News:
"The Health Service Journal have got this 180 degres wrong. The problem in recent years has been that staff pay has simply increased in line with the huge rises in the NHS budget."This rang alarm bells with me, I started in the NHS in the last full year of Tory rule (1996/97) and pay certainly hasn't doubled in real terms since then. So I've done some digging:
Total NHS Budget in 1996/97 £31.5 billion
Total NHS Budget in 2009/10 £103.4 billion (England £86.4b (pdf document), Scotland £11.0b, Wales est £4.0b, Northern Ireland est £2.0b)
% increase in NHS Budget 228%
Now, I can't find any pay scales for 1996/97, but I do remember my beginning salary as a Management Accounts Assistant (bottom point, Admin and Clerical Grade 4) that was £10,076 per annum. So a 228% pay hike would mean that if Lansley is right, that same post should be starting at £33,049. Unfortunately for the Man Accs Assistants working in my office, that's not the starting salary. The current starting salary for Agenda for Change Band 4 (which is what they get graded as now) is £17,732 pretty much half of what Lansley has claimed.
I'm going to be more charitable than the comrades in the blogger's union. Never attribute to conspiracy what you can charge to cock-up. In this case, I must conclude that Lansley simply doesn't know what he's talking about.