Wales politics

London ‘imposing’ health cuts on Wales, says Alex Salmond

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Media captionMr Salmond said he respected Mr Jones but the Welsh deserved an 'explanation' over the state of the NHS

Scotland's first minister has claimed Wales is being forced to cut health spending thanks to decisions taken in London.

Alex Salmond said Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones was reducing health expenditure because of cutbacks being imposed on him by the UK government.

The SNP leader said he respected Mr Jones but the Welsh deserved an "explanation" for the state of the NHS.

Mr Jones has backed the campaign for a No vote.

"The reason the Welsh first minister is reducing national health expenditure in Wales, going down in real terms, is not because Carwyn Jones wants to, but because of the impact of cutbacks from the London government," Mr Salmond said.

"I give Carwyn the benefit of the doubt, I see that he doesn't want to see the Welsh health service in the trouble it's currently in, but it's being imposed on him by the Westminster government.

"Perhaps he will then see the benefit of our position.

"We don't want to end up with the real cut-backs that are happening in Wales, and that's why we have to control the finances of the health service as well as the administration, and move forward therefore to independence for Scotland."

Mr Salmond said he had "the greatest respect" for Mr Jones, but he "owed the people of Wales an explanation" for the state of the NHS.

Image caption Carwyn Jones backs a No vote in Scotland

The Welsh first minister joined the No campaign in Scotland on Tuesday where he said he feared a Yes vote would impact negatively on Wales.

He also dismissed his Scottish counterpart's arguments on the health service in Wales.

"We have made choices, thanks to devolution, that the Welsh people want to see," insisted Mr Jones.

"We have said a firm "no" to privatisation - and "yes" to working with and for the interests of our patients and healthcare workers.

"These are the things you can do without independence."

Scotland will go to the polls next Thursday.