LibDems pledge an extra £6bn a year for NHS and social care

Tim Farron. Photo Credit: Farron Rally 1 via photopin (license)

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has pledged an extra £6 billion a year in funding for the NHS and social care, paid for with a 1p rise on all rates of income tax.

Funding would be ring-fenced in England and can only be spent on health and social care, while other parts of the UK will be able to choose how to spend the extra cash.

The spending commitment is the first major policy announcement made by the Liberal Democrats ahead of the snap general election in June, and will form part of a “five point recovery plan” to put NHS and social care services on a more sustainable footing.

The changes would see someone earning £15,000 a year paying an extra £33 in income tax, rising to £133 a year for people earning £25,000 a year.

Higher earners would see a much larger rise, with people earning £150,000 paying an extra £1,500 a year, while those earning £250,000 a year would see their income tax increase by £2,500 a year – or £48 per week.

Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Farron, said: “Theresa May doesn’t care about the NHS or social care. People are lying on trolleys in hospital corridors and she has done nothing. The truth is you can’t have a strong NHS with a Hard Brexit.”

“The Liberal Democrats will rescue the NHS and social care. We are prepared to be honest with people and say that we will all need to chip in a little more.”

“It is not too late to change Britain’s future. The Conservatives want absolute power, Labour are too weak to stand up to them, so we will. The Liberal Democrats will be the strong opposition Britain needs.”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Norman Lamb, added: “The NHS was once the envy of the world and this plan is the first step in restoring it to where it should be.”

“A penny on the pound to save the NHS is money well spent in our view.”

“Simply providing more money on its own is not enough and that’s why this is just the first step in our plan to protect health and care services long-term.”

“We also need to do much more to keep people fit and healthy and out of hospital, and that is why this new funding will be targeted to those areas that have the greatest impact on patient care such as social care, general practice, mental health and public health.”

Responding to the announcement, Conservative Treasury minister Jane Ellison said: “A vote for anyone other than Theresa May means you will pay more tax.

“Jeremy Corbyn, the Lib Dems and SNP will hit 30 million people in the pocket with higher income taxes.”

Wealthier pensioners would lose winter fuel allowance under LibDems

Like Labour the LibDems have also vowed to protect the ‘triple-lock’ on state pensions, but unlike Labour wealthier pensioners would lose their winter fuel allowance.

The Conservatives have, so far, refused to rule out scrapping or replacing the ‘Triple Lock’.

It is estimated that around 600,000 pensioners with incomes above £45,000 a year would lose their winter fuel allowance under the plans, saving the treasury around £105 million.

Commenting on the Party’s commitment to keep the Triple Lock, former Liberal Democrat business business secretary Vince Cable said: “Liberal Democrats believe that an important test of a civilised society is the way in which it cares for the elderly.

“We will protect the triple lock, unlike the Conservatives.

“The guiding principle of the pensions system must be to ensure that none are left unable to meet their basic needs for survival and participation in society, and that everyone is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

“A Lib Dem pensions minister introduced the triple lock guarantee to protect the state pension during coalition.

“We delivered on our manifesto commitment to increase the basic state pension by whatever is highest out of CPI inflation, average earnings or 2.5%.”