THE Lib Dems have said they will increase income tax by 1p as part of a £6 billion-a-year cash injection to “rescue the NHS and social care” if they win the general election.
The anti-Brexit party, who currently only have nine seats in Westminster, said the electoral promise was their “flagship” spending commitment ahead of the vote on June 8.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has pledged to raise tax by 1p to ‘rescue the NHS’
Party leader Tim Farron said voters recognised the need to “chip in a little more” to address the “chronic underfunding” of healthcare.
Under the Lib Dem plan, 1p would be added to the basic, higher and additional rates of income tax and the rate of dividend tax from the next financial year with the £6 billion raised being “ring-fenced” for the NHS, social care and public health.
The proposal, similar to their pledge from the 1990s to put a penny on income tax for education, is a clear attempt to capitalise on public concerns about the state of healthcare in Britaun.
The party pointed to an opinion poll finding from last year which suggested 70% of voters would back a 1p rise in income tax if the money was guaranteed to go to the NHS.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she has no plans to increase taxes but has backed away from guaranteeing freezes on income tax or national insurance – a pledge previously made by David Cameron in the 2015 general election.
Mr 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.
People lying on trolleys in the corridors of an overcrowded hospital
“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.”
The party’s health spokesman, Norman Lamb MP, added: “The NHS was once the envy of the world and this pledge 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.”
According to figures released by the party the rise would mean an increase of £33-a-year for someone on £15,000 a year and £133-a-year for someone earning £25,000 annually.
At the top end, someone earning £150,000 would pay an additional £1,500 a year while someone taking home £250,000 would see their annual tax bill rise by £2,500.
The Conservatives said the tax rises would hit 30 million people but Mr Lamb told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Carry on as we are, and we’re heading for a disaster.
“I think the really insidious development we’re seeing now is that more and more people who have the money are paying privately to circumvent the waiting list – and who can blame them?
“I don’t want to live in a country where people with money can get access to good care and everyone else is left waiting, but that’s what we’re heading towards.”
Around £140bn is spent on the NHS each year and £25bn on social care but demand is due to increase even further as the country deals with an ageing population.
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