Lib Dems argue that income tax rise will boost NHS budget

The Liberal Democrats have said that adding a penny to the basic rate of income tax will allow the party to spend more on the NHS if they get into power.

Jo Swinson’s party said the tax rise will allow it to invest an extra £26 billion a year above inflation by 2023-24 compared to what was being invested last year, in a pledge that the Lib Dems suggest matches that of Labour.

The tax hike equates to a rise of 3.9 per cent rise on average each year, compared to the government's plan of 3.4 per cent. The party says that the tax rise would raise £7 billion a year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Under Lib Dem proposals, it is reported that more money would also be put into social care and other areas of health spending, including training, buildings and public health. The penny rise in all the income tax bands would also mean more money for the health services in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Luciana Berger, Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman, 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."

The Health Foundation think-tank said the extra funding, if the Liberal Democrats were successful in the General Election, would help keep pace with rising demand.

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