this week

Liberal Democrats would vote against the next Budget if chancellor Gordon Brown put tax cuts ahead of investment in health and education, the party's Treasury spokesman Malcolm Bruce told its conference in Harrogate this week.

Health spokesman Dr Evan Harris also called for 'extra money' and blamed Labour for increasing 'the gap between expectation and delivery'. He told a fringe meeting that the waiting-list initiative had left GPs 'referring people they would not refer otherwise', which was 'like saying: 'Bring out your dead''.'

Labour waiting-list policy also came under fire from the Conservatives this week, with the launch of leader William Hague's 'patients' guarantee' that the length of time waited would depend on the 'urgency of their condition and clinical priority' rather than how long they had been on the list.