Tuesday 9 February 2021 / 1:20 PM Angela Rayner

Labour calls for Health Secretary to pay back donations after disgraceful attack on NHS heroes

Labour is demanding that Matt Hancock condemns a report published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and pay back the donations he has received from the organisation’s Chair. The report argues that there is “no rational basis” for the public support NHS staff are receiving, “no reason” to be grateful for the NHS and criticising the “false narrative” that the NHS has done an amazing job during the pandemic.

Matt Hancock received donations totalling over £30,000 from IEA Chair Neil Record. In a letter to the Health Secretary sent today, Rayner says it is “deeply concerning” that the Health Secretary is “bankrolled” by the IEA, which has long campaigned for the abolition of the NHS and its replacement with a privatised health service, when it is his job to “protect and defend our country’s greatest institution – our National Health Service – and stand up for our NHS staff who have sacrificed so much throughout this pandemic to save lives and keep us safe.”

Full text of letter below

Dear Matt,

I am writing to you regarding your relationship with the Institute of Economic Affairs.

As I am sure you will know as a result of your long-standing close relationship with the Institute of Economic Affairs, their recent report ‘Viral Myths’ states that there is “no rational basis” for the “adulation that the NHS is currently receiving”, and “no reason to be ‘grateful’ for the fact that we have it”. The report goes on to say that the idea that the NHS has done an amazing job under the most difficult of circumstances and has held the nation together is a “false narrative”.

This disgraceful attack on our NHS comes in the middle of a deadly global pandemic after our NHS staff have worked round the clock for almost a year to tackle this dreadful virus, save lives and keep us all safe. Last month our NHS dealt with what was tragically the deadliest month of the pandemic, a situation that we should never have been in and a situation that was a direct result of the government’s failure to control the virus, protect our NHS and save lives.

It is also important to view the absolutely outstanding performance of our publicly-run NHS in the context of the failure of the government’s outsourced Test and Trace system which has resulted in £22 billion of taxpayers’ money being wasted and delivered into the pockets of Serco and their friends. It is our NHS that is world-beating, not a Test and Trace system being run by private companies for profit that has completely failed to deliver.

Since becoming a Member of Parliament you have accepted nine donations worth a total of £32,000 from Neil Record, Chairman of the Institute of Economic Affairs. I am sure that this report came as no surprise to you given the Institute of Economic Affairs’ long-standing campaign to abolish our NHS and replace it with a privatised healthcare system, which you were well aware of when you accepted that money.

As Health Secretary it is your job to protect and defend our country’s greatest institution – our National Health Service – and stand up for our NHS staff who have sacrificed so much throughout this pandemic to save lives and keep us safe. It is therefore deeply concerning that our country’s Health Secretary is so closely linked to, and has been bankrolled by, an organisation which criticises our NHS and is committed to its dismantling, abolition and replacement with a privatised healthcare system.

I urge you to take steps to distance yourself from the Institute of Economic Affairs, make a public statement to condemn this report in the strongest terms and pay back the donations that you have received from the Institute of Economic Affairs Chairman Neil Record.

If you are committed to the protection of our NHS you must take action immediately to assure NHS staff and the British people that you don’t share the views of your donors at the Institute of Economic Affairs that we should not be grateful for the NHS or thank the NHS and its staff for their work during this pandemic.

Yours Sincerely

Angela Rayner MP

Deputy Leader and Chair of the Labour Party