Labour pledge at campaign launch

Andy Burnham MP and Coun Julie Dore at the Labor manifesto launch on Sheffield
Andy Burnham MP and Coun Julie Dore at the Labor manifesto launch on Sheffield
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LABOUR shadow health secretary Andy Burnham visited Sheffield for the regional launch of his party’s local election campaign - but momentarily forgot which county he was in.

Mr Burnham gathered with councillors outside the Town Hall where he was cheered as he promoted the party’s pledge to repeal the NHS bill and criticised cuts to police.

But Mr Burnham accidentally fluffed his lines - and spoke about the wrong county when he declared how life was ‘really tough for the people of West Yorkshire’ due to cuts. He later corrected the remark.

Mr Burnham praised Sheffield’s ruling labour councillors for funding 10 extra police community support officers ‘in the face of savage cuts’.

But he declined to comment on a decision by former South Yorkshire chief constable and possible Labour police commissioner candidate Med Hughes to put £9 million meant for police officers’ salaries into reserves.

Mr Burnham said: “It was a local decision by a local police force.”

Mr Hughes, who is standing for selection as Labour candidate for the commissioner’s job, has said the reserves were built up to cover ‘unexpected costs’ and helped reduce the impact of cuts next year.

Mr Burnham repeated Labour’s pledge to repeal the NHS bill, which allows GPs to commission patient care and NHS hospitals to take on private patients.

He said: “The NHS does not need turning upside down. Around the rest of Europe countries spend more of GDP on health than we do.

“The reorganisation is costing £3.4 billion, which is a waste of money which could be spent on 6,000 nurses’ jobs.”