Commenting at the Autumn Statement Mr. Carmichael said:
“Can I welcome those elements of the statement, which are positive. The spending on infrastructure, especially on Broadband and mobile phone signal, the freeze in fuel duty, and the changes to Universal Credit, are all steps in the right direction. We wanted to see the extra cash given to the NHS and social care, that is needed as winter is coming on, it risks becoming acute. But I understand the difficulties that face the Chancellor today. He has a £122bn black hole as a result of Brexit so instead of using the NHS as a political football, will he work with people across the parties and of no party to identify where the money can be got because frankly, it is too important to be treated like this.”
Responding the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond said:
“Well Mr. Speaker, Firstly I would urge the Rt. Hon. Gentleman to look at the figures in a little bit more detail, the £122 billion which he quotes runs over a fifth year, it includes the £23 billion discretionary additional commitments which I’ve made today, and it includes over £20billion in baseline adjustment due to previous policy changes around welfare benefits and classification changes made by the ONS, so he needs to look at the figures.
“On the NHS, as I’ve said already, there are trust deficits building up across the country. At the moment they are manageable within the context of the NHS’s own internal cash management system, but of course we will keep a close eye on it. We take the view that the NHS has asked for financing of a specific and defined plan. We have provided that financing. We now need to challenge the NHS managers who asked for that money to deliver the outcomes that they promised. We will watch very closely and stick very close by as they do.”
Commenting after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael said:
“The Chancellor’s own figures paint a bleak outlook for the economy. £122bn black hole in public finances. Public net debt to reach over 90% of UK GDP, and growth projections down. Brexit is proving to carry a heavy price tag for the Chancellor, and he said barely a word on the addition money which our under-funded NHS so desperately needs. Lib Dems would have given an additional £4billion to the NHS this year, as well as providing certainty to businesses by committing to remain in the Single market. While some of the changes were great news for families across the country, this was a missed opportunity to help our NHS, and secure the future of many businesses.”