Election 2015 Wales

Election 2015: Health is top issue in Wales, says Crabb

Stephen Crabb
Image caption Stephen Crabb says you cannot have strong public services without a strong economy

The state of the NHS is the "number one" election issue on the doorstep, Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb has said, claiming the Labour Welsh government had "stripped hundreds of millions of pounds" out of the service.

He said people were keen to talk to Westminster candidates about health, run in Wales by Welsh ministers.

Mr Crabb said a strong economy was the "bedrock foundation" for a strong NHS.

He accused Welsh Labour of failing to protect the health budget in Wales.

In an interview for BBC Wales Today, Mr Crabb said: "I disagree that somehow Westminster does not have any connection on this issue, because what is at the heart of a strong NHS and strong public services has to be a strong economy.

"So the measures we are taking to strengthen the economy for the future is the bedrock foundation for a strong NHS in the future.

"This is at the very heart of the debate because Welsh Labour say things have got worse in the NHS in Wales because of budget issues.

"The fact of the matter is that we gave the resources and the money to the Welsh government to secure and protect the NHS budget in Wales, they took a policy decision not to spend it on the NHS.

"They stripped hundreds of millions of pounds out of the NHS budget in Wales which has created a lot of the pressures that people want to talk about on the doorsteps at this election."

The state of the Welsh NHS is due to be a central theme in the Welsh Conservatives' party political broadcast on Monday.

Health also features in Labour's five-point pledge card and Plaid Cymru's manifesto.

The interview with Mr Crabb was the third in a series of Wales Today interviews with Welsh political leaders.

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