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The Spectator Podcast: Health Cheque

24 May 2018

2:06 PM

24 May 2018

2:06 PM


In this week’s issue, the Spectator reveals that the government is planning a significant yearly increase in the NHS’s budget. But, Lara Prendergast asks in the podcast, isn’t this the £350 million a week bus pledge? And how will the government pay for this (00:40)? We also talk about the difficulties in modern adoption with Prue Leith (15:30), and finally, we talk to Martin Tyler and Mark Palmer on whether this year’s World Cup, held in Russia, is set to be the most political ever (26:35).

One of the most infamous images of the EU referendum campaign was that bus. The one which promised £350 million to the NHS each week if we were to leave. Many thought it fantasy, but is that promise now coming true? In this week’s cover piece, Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth reveal that Theresa May would like to give the NHS a present on its 70th birthday in July. The Brexit bus pledge seems to have turned the Conservatives into big spenders. Fraser, James, and Will Tanner, a former advisor to the Prime Minister and Director of Onward, a new Conservative think tank, discuss what this pledge means. Fraser tells us about the mastermind behind the policy, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS:

‘He is saying: instead of having this feast and this famine, why don’t we have a five, or even ten year – he wants a ten year commitment – increase, of 4% a year?’


Next, Prue Leith tells us her incredible experiences with adoption – her husband was adopted as a baby, she adopted her daughter Li-Da, who is now trying, but struggling, to adopt. Prue writes about the lengthy process that now exist for couples wanting to give a child a home. It’s a complicated subject of course, but as Prue suggests, the checks often does more harm than good for the children involved. Prue joins Lara on the podcast, together with Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, the CEO of Adoption UK. Sue tells Lara:

‘If we’re in adoption, we need to let go of the idea of adopting “the perfect child”. Adopting is not a route to put together a family that’s in any other way like a mainstream family. But it can be a fantastic way to parent a child that desperately needs a home.’

And last, as England prepares for the World Cup, the government has been issuing travel warnings about attending the event, which is hosted in Russia. With tensions running high since the Salisbury attack, wouldn’t it be sweet if we won Putin’s World Cup? Mark Palmer, Daily Mail Travel Editor, certainly thinks so, and writes about it in this week’s issue. Mark discusses England’s chances with Lara, together with Martin Tyler, veteran commentator and coach at Woking Football Club. Martin tells us about the England team:

‘The team spirit might add an extra element that could get them across the line, whether it will get them all the way to holding up the trophy. It’s a big ask, let’s be realistic about it. But I think most England fans want it to be a competitive team and I think there’s no reason for that not to be the case.’

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