Labour plans big rise in NHS spending
Monday, June 2, 2014
Labour is drawing up plans to go into the next election with a manifesto pledge to increase NHS spending significantly should the party be returned to power, according to The Independent.
Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are examining options for how Labour could fund additional investment in health over and above current spending plans. Shadow Cabinet sources said no decision had yet been taken on how to fund the pledge, although one option is to introduce a ring-fenced rise in national insurance (NI) contributions both for employers and employees.
This would mirror Gordon Brown’s raising of NI by 1 per cent in 2002 to fund Labour’s last expansion of the NHS. It is understood this idea is being supported by Jon Cruddas who is leading Labour’s policy review. Another – less likely – option is to announce that Labour will delay the period over which the party commits itself to pay off the deficit in order to fund additional NHS spending.
A third option would be to fund much smaller increases in the NHS budget for the first few years of a Labour government while the deficit is paid off – with a commitment to then use all the savings as GDP grows to increase investment in the NHS at the end of the parliament.