The Chancellor delivered the Conservative government's autumn statement setting out its priority changes to taxes, welfare, and public services.

As is often the case, the contents of the statement were closely guarded in advance. Normally this means that the government can secure a day or two of favourable headlines while journalists, commentators and opposition parties hurriedly trawl through the small print.

Herts Advertiser: St Albans MP Daisy CooperSt Albans MP Daisy Cooper (Image: UK Government)

On this occasion, what was initially branded as a tax-cuts pre-election giveaway was in fact quickly revealed to be a huge tax hike - and without a single extra penny going to our ailing NHS.

The so-called tax cuts really were a sleight of hand. The freeze to personal tax thresholds still means millions more of the lowest paid are being dragged into paying income tax – negating the trumpeted cuts to national insurance contributions.

For example, next year, even after changes to National Insurance, a middle-income earner will pay a whopping £1,200 more in tax.

Doing this in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis is not only desperately unfair, but completely oblivious to the challenges facing struggling families here in St Albans and across the country.

The silence on the NHS was deafening. Health and wealth are two sides of the same coin; you simply can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy population.

With one in three people now saying that they had to take time off work while waiting for an appointment or medical treatment, it’s no wonder that the NHS has become the nation's top priority - even if it isn’t for this government.

The so-called £13 billion “fiscal headroom” - the money the Chancellor had to play with - could have been a much-needed shot in the arm for our NHS. It could have helped recruit thousands more to become GPs and brought dentists back into providing NHS work.

It could have given people the care they need and turbocharged the economy.

The fact the government had nothing to say and nothing to offer on this, means our NHS will remain on life support until someone else comes along with the ambition and drive to rescue it.