Labour will today hold an Opposition Day Debate in the House of Commons on NHS funding, following the launch of Labour’s third election pledge on the National Health Service yesterday.
Chris Leslie MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, speaking ahead of the debate, said:
“Our health service is in crisis under the Tories and the NHS as we know it cannot survive another five years of David Cameron.
“The risky and extreme spending plans the Tories want to pursue after the election will take public spending back to a share of GDP last seen in the 1930s, before there was a National Health Service. There are only four OECD countries which have public spending at such low levels and all of them have significantly higher charging as a share of overall national health spending than in the UK.
“The prospect of widespread NHS charging is the dangerous road which Tory spending plans risk taking us down. Because not only are the Tories now proposing spending cuts which the IFS says are ‘colossal’, they have also made £7 billion of unfunded tax promises. And the Tories have a track-record of calling for charging to be introduced and breaking their promises on the NHS.
“In contrast Labour will raise an extra £2.5 billion a year through a Mansion Tax on properties over £2 million, closing down tax loopholes and a levy on the tobacco companies. This means we can fund an extra 20,000 nurses and 8,000 GPs, guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week. We are the only party which has a properly funded plan to save and transform our NHS. The Tories would put it at risk.”
The full text of Labour’s motion today is:
That this House notes comments from leading doctors and nurses that the NHS is in crisis under this Government, which has wasted £3 billion on a reckless reorganisation; believes an extra £2.5 billion a year should be invested in the health service, including to fund an additional 20,000 nurses and 8,000 GPs, by raising additional revenue from closing tax loopholes, a levy on tobacco companies and a tax on properties worth over £2 million; further notes that the Office for Budget Responsibility has said that the Government’s spending plans in the Autumn Statement would return public spending to a share of national income last seen in the late 1930s, before there was a NHS, and a level which is incompatible with the Government’s claims to be able to protect the NHS; recognises that only four OECD countries have total government expenditure at 35 per cent or less of GDP and that all of these countries have significantly higher charging as a share of overall national health spending than in the UK; and calls on the Government to reconsider the plans set out in the Autumn Statement for even deeper spending cuts, which the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said could involve a fundamental reimagining of the role of the state.