Lib Dems will raise tax to invest £35 billion in the NHS

19 November 2019, 04:49

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has set out an ambitious plan for the NHS
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has set out an ambitious plan for the NHS. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Lib Dems say they will boost NHS funding by £35 billion by raising income tax by 1p if they are put into power in the upcoming election.

The cash would go hand in hand with a promised £10 billion capital fund, which the party vow would be used to upgrade equipment, ambulances, hospitals and other NHS buildings.

The party's health spokeswoman Luciana Berger said the proposed 1p increase to income tax would raise £7 billion a year and would be ring-fenced for use in the NHS and social care.

Ms Berger pledged to tackle staffing shortages in the NHS by retaining free movement of labour, reinstating nursing bursaries and setting up a national workforce strategy to match training places to future needs.

The party also said it would end the current shortfall of GPs by 2025.

Ms Berger said: "The NHS is struggling to cope with severe staff shortages, chronic underfunding and crumbling hospital buildings.

"All of these problems would be made much worse by a Tory or Labour Brexit that would end free movement and make it harder to attract nurses and doctors from the EU.

"The Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future by stopping Brexit, and we will put a penny on income tax to raise an extra £35 billion for the NHS and social care.

"We are the only party with a credible plan to protect the NHS, by tackling the staffing crisis, investing in mental health services, social care, public health and making our NHS buildings fit for the 21st century."

The 1p rise would apply to those on the basic, higher and additional rates of income tax, the party said.

Of the £35 billion, £32.2 billion would be spent in England, £1.8 billion in Wales and £1 billion in Northern Ireland.

The measure would not apply to Scotland as income tax policy is devolved.