Labour will outspend Tories and "rescue" the NHS with £26bn plan

13 November 2019, 07:32

John McDonnell will make his speech on Wednesday
John McDonnell will make his speech on Wednesday. Picture: PA

Funding for the NHS will be boosted by £26 billion under a Labour government which will cover the cost by taxing the richest in society, the party has pledged.

Labour has said they will use their "real terms healthcare funding boost" to provide safe quality care, recruit thousands of staff, rebuild crumbling facilities and provide modern state of the art equipment.

However, the Conservatives say the party has made a "major error" as the plan will "cost the NHS £6.1 billion a year and mean a relative cut to the NHS."

Labour's John McDonnell will unveil the plan later at a speech to the Royal Society of Medicine, where he will promise an annual average 4.3% funding increase for health spending over the next four years and "end the Tory NHS crisis."

Labour say this will be funded from the party's proposals to reverse corporation tax cuts and taxing the richest in society.

The "rescue plan" includes NHS capital expenditure rising to the international average, £1 billion-a-year training and education budgets, and £1 billion more to fund an expansion of public health services.

There will be a focused drive on prevention measures to stop people getting sick, as part of Labour's mission to tackle health inequalities and prioritise children's health and well-being.

John McDonnell is expected to say: “The world-class health service we all need and depend on needs proper funding.

“Labour’s policies to tax the richest in society and invest for the future through our Social Transformation Fund mean we will be able to improve millions of lives.

“And ending privatisation means that money can be spent on healthcare rather than dividends for Boris Johnson’s friends in the private healthcare industry.”

Matt Hancock has said Labour's plans for a 4 day working week will cripple the economy
Matt Hancock has said Labour's plans for a 4 day working week will cripple the economy. Picture: PA

Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed Labour's plans would end up costing the NHS money due to Jeremy Corbyn's plans to introduce a four-day working week.

Mr Hancock said: “Labour have let the cat out of the bag: they won’t increase the NHS budget, they will cut it. This is further proof that they aren’t fit to be in government.

“Jeremy Corbyn's plans for a 4 day working week will cripple our economy and cost the NHS billions every year. That leaves a huge funding shortfall in Labour's plans and it is patients who will pay the price for Corbyn's incompetence. Corbyn's Labour also have no policies to deal with the pressure that their plan for unlimited and uncontrolled immigration would put on our NHS.

“They will spend so much time negotiating with Nicola Sturgeon over their plans for another two chaotic referendums next year that they won't be able to focus on the NHS. Only the Conservatives can get Brexit done and deliver the funding the NHS needs and the improved care that patients deserve. We simply cannot afford the cost of Corbyn.”

The battle for the NHS continues as parties attempt to outgun one another with spending pledges
The battle for the NHS continues as parties attempt to outgun one another with spending pledges. Picture: PA

The Lib Dems have said Labour is unable to "rescue the NHS while allowing Brexit to happen."

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Health, Social Care and Wellbeing, said: "Labour’s health announcement today completely misses the point. They are ignoring the fact that Brexit is the biggest threat to the NHS – if Labour allow Brexit to happen, they cannot rescue our NHS.

"Brexit has already cost the economy as much as £66 billion. If Corbyn had not tacitly supported Brexit, Labour could have funded their NHS plan more than two times over."