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Editor's blog Wednesday 30 September 2009: National Care Service funding - pick a number, any number

Good morning. You may have caught PM Gordon Brown on the BBC's Today programme this morning. When James Naughtie asked him about the funding of the new National Care Service, Brown's reply was "it's starting in September 2010 - it will cost £350 million in the first year; £670 million in the second year".

This is slightly worrying, because Ed Milliband told Jerrums Paxman on Newsnight that the sums were "£700 million: £400 million from the health budget and £300 million from local government". And after Brown's speech, Andy Burnham came out with the figures of "about £200 million to the health budget".

Now I can see congruence between Brown's figure of £670 million in the second year and Milliband's £700 million - what, after all, is £30 million between cabinet colleagues? In government spending terms, that is loose change.

But the difference of Burnham's stated £200 million from the health pot and Milliband's figure of £400 million is 100%. This is too important a policy and too grim a fiscal economic outlook to cock up the numbers.