Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire) (Ind)
I beg to move,
That this House has considered Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG funding pressures.
I start by thanking the Backbench Business Committee for granting me this short debate and you, Mr Hollobone, for chairing it. I also thank the Minister for his time.
I represent South Cambridgeshire, which is a largely rural constituency, although it also contains part of Cambridge, which is the fastest growing city in the UK: it grew on average by 7% every single year from 2010 to 2015, and since then has continued growing beyond the national average. There is no doubt that the economy, which is spun out of Cambridge University, is world class. It is equally no surprise, therefore, that the Government are keen to connect us with Oxford, another world-leading, rapidly growing city. Beyond the exceptional levels of growth that we are already experiencing, the Oxford-to-Cambridge expressway and rail line will create a further 1 million homes, so how can it be that the health funding allocated to our clinical commissioning group is based on an assumption that we are growing more slowly than the rest of the UK?
The NHS funding formula has determined that our population is growing at 0.1% below the England average, when in reality growth across the whole county has been 0.6% above the England average over the past four years. That difference matters. In population terms, the Office for National Statistics, from which the NHS draws its calculations, predicts that our population will be 988,000 by 2021, while our known and planned housing growth means our population will in fact be 1,022,000. That is known housing growth, before we even consider the additional housing that will come from the Cambridge to Oxford project.
I must tell the Minister that that is not all. The money we receive per head of population is also significantly lower than it should be. In fact, all our neighbouring CCGs are better funded than we are. In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, we receive £1,125 per capita, as compared with £1,244 in Bedfordshire, £1,288 in West Suffolk and a staggering £1,497 in Norfolk. How does the Minister consider that to be fair, when we have one of the greatest and fastest growing ageing populations and severe areas of deprivation in Fenland and some of the Cambridge city wards? Those issues of unfair per capita funding and incorrect growth forecasting have the compound effect of making us the third-lowest funded CCG in the country.
On top of that, we have been given a £55 million savings target for this year alone, which amounts to 4.5% of our entire budget. We have an allocation uplift of 5.67%, or £66.7 million, but we are already committed to nationally mandated costs of £70 million, so the numbers just do not add up. In simple terms, despite our growth, we have less money to fund health services for the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in 2019-20 than we did in 2018-19, and that is set to get worse.