Prime Minister David Cameron will today signal that he believes Britain is broken – and his goal for the next parliament will be to carry out the repairs.
In his final conference speech before May’s general election, the Conservative leader will lay out his ambition to make the UK a place that “everyone is proud to call home”.
The message will be delivered less than two weeks after 1.6 million Scots voted to break-up the 300-year-old Union.
It also comes amid renewed tensions over the UK’s uneasy relationship with the European Union, with two Tory MPs having defected to UKIP and more expected to follow, and on-going concerns about the “crisis” over the cost of living.
The prime minister will also announce in his keynote address that the Conservatives will ring-fence NHS spending again in the next parliament.
Labour leader Ed Miliband’s central policy announcement at his conference in Manchester last week was an extra £2.5billion of funding for the health service every year.
Tory insiders say they “just don’t accept the Labour numbers” and it is only their party that can protect the NHS.
Mr Cameron will say: “The next Conservative government will protect the NHS budget and continue to invest more.
“Because we know this truth – something Labour will never understand, and we will never forget – you can only have a strong NHS if you have a strong economy.”
The move would protect hundreds of millions of pounds of spending on public services in Scotland, under the Barnett Formula.
Mr Cameron is expected to look back at the past few weeks and months in Scotland in his speech, and reflect on the historic verdict in the referendum.
“I love this country – and my goal is this: To make Britain a country that everyone is proud to call home,” he will say.
The prime minister’s advisors denied last night that the section in the speech was a commentary on the state of Britain, but the message will be clear in Scotland, where 45% of voters have just made it clear that they are not hugely proud to call Britain home.
The Tory leader will expand on this goal, saying: “It doesn’t just mean having the fastest-growing economy, or climbing some international league table.
“I want to help you live a better life. Not a free-for-all, but a chance for all.”
In a plea to voters to let him achieve this ambition, Mr Cameron will say: “The past four years have been about laying the foundations for that Britain. The next five will be about finishing the job.”