Ian Payne 4am - 7am
Nick Ferrari's fiery interview with Tory peer over government's pandemic preparedness
21 April 2020, 08:49 | Updated: 21 April 2020, 12:53
This Conservative peer told LBC that she felt the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic is a success, so Nick Ferrari went through all the issues one-by-one.
Baroness Blackwood was also a Health Minister during Operation Cygnus, the project to discover the government's preparedness for a pandemic.
Nick asked her what lessons were learnt from it and why the UK didn't get more PPE and ventilators after it.
She insisted the government were very well-prepared and did indeed learn the lessons from Operation Cygnus - and the interview got quite fiery.
Nick was also frustrated that Public Health England have a budget of £4.51billion, but he feels they have spent more time telling people to eat five portions of fruit a day than fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Baroness Nicola Blackwood was a former Health Minister under Theresa May and Boris Johnson and she told Nick that the budget was actually £300million and claimed he got his information from an incorrect Sun newspaper article.
But Nick countered: "No, this is from the government website, which states 'The Public Health England annual budget is £4.51billion'. That's not an article in The Sun. That's what's known as the government website Baroness.
"I'm puzzled that you, as a former Health Minister, don't know the budget of Public Health England. You said it was different, but it all comes under that quango."
The Baroness insisted that the budget is allocated in a different way - the £4.51billion is the total for local government health services and Public Health England gets just £300million of that.
Nick again asked: "So this government website is wrong, is it, where it says the annual budget is £4.51billion. That's wrong is it?
"Why are you seeking to mislead my listeners?"
Baroness Blackwood responded: "I'm just trying to be helpful. £300million goes to Public Health England, the body. And the rest of it goes to alcohol and drug services, on sexual health services, on services at a local level."
This is a must-watch - see it at the top of the page.
On their budget, Public Health England say: "PHE’s annual budget from government is just shy of £300million – which is about half the cost of a district hospital. The 4.5bn figure is the amount the Treasury allocates to local government for local public health services – not PHE budget."