From the archive
An extract from George Osborne’s statement in the House of Commons on the 2010 Spending Review:
I am grateful to the work of my right honourable friend, the member for Sumburgh West, in investigating the current provision of organs in this country, and I have considered his recommendations carefully.
Good kidney function is an essential part of the workings of a modern, civilised society, and the Coalition is determined to ensure that Britain has kidney function second to none in order that we may punch above our weight in the global economy going forward.
Nonetheless, we can no longer tolerate a situation where the long-term unemployed have exactly the same number of kidneys as members of hard-working families who pay their taxes. This penalises virtue and goes against the principles of fairness which guide this government’s actions.
I note that the previous government allowed for increases of only 2 per cent in provision for kidney dialysis and kidney stone treatment up to 2014. (Cries of ‘Shame!’ from Coalition benches.) After a careful look at the options, I have decided that by cutting out waste and duplication in kidney function, I can increase the budget for dialysis by 40 per cent over the next four years. (Coalition cheers.)
To fund this increase, and in line with best medical advice that only one kidney is necessary for healthy life, I propose reducing by 50 per cent the number of kidneys currently held by those on benefits. The organs thus freed up will be sold by tender. Further savings will be made by putting a private consortium in charge of removing the surplus kidneys from their current owners.
The current situation calls for all sections of society to shoulder the burden of the reductions in government spending we must make, and I have therefore decided to introduce a kidney levy for higher rate taxpayers who wish to retain the luxury of two kidneys. The levy will be set initially at an annual rate of #9.99, although this will be subject to review.
Mr Speaker, the protection of the most vulnerable members of society is at the core of this government’s philosophy, and I am delighted to tell the house that because of the meaures we have taken, we are able to ring fence both kidneys of all children under the age of 16 until at least 2020. (Huge Coalition cheers.)
I now turn to waste and duplication in the area of personal vision…