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Lib Dems want 1% income tax rise to pay for general practice

The Liberal Democrats have listed general practice as a key area of investment should they come to power in next month’s general election.

The party has said it wants to raise an extra £6bn a year, to be ring-fenced for the NHS and social care, by introducing a 1% increase to all rates of income tax.

It said the funds raised 'will provide vital services with the money they desperately need' and would come as part of a wider plan to 'put health and care services on a more sustainable footing long term'.

This would include setting up a 'cross-party health and care convention' as well as and 'Independent Office of Health and Care Funding', which would be tasked with monitoring health and care budgets and would make a spending recommendation every three years.

Liberal Democrats health spokesperson Norman Lamb said: ‘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.’

Mr Lamb told Pulse in an exclusive interview last week that his party would also drop current Government plans to enforce routine seven-day GP appointments across England.

The announcement came as the Tories and Labour also made healthcare pledges over the weekend.

The Conservative Party promised to improve mental healthcare by cutting down the number of people who are detained for treatment, following a 43% increase in the last decade.

The party said the new Mental Health Treatment Bill would replace 'the outdated and unfit-for-purpose' 1983 Mental Health Act, and also come alongside 'sweeping changes to the Equalities Act to prevent workplace discrimination'.

'Problems like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder are often intermittent, but currently employees are only protected from discrimination if their condition is continuous for 12 months, so the law will be reformed,' the party said.

The Labour Party meanwhile said it would launch a Child Health Bill which would compel all Government departments to produce a child health strategy and also introduce an index of child health to measure progress against international standards.

It would also establish a £250m child health fund, to be achieved by reducing NHS management consultancy costs, and introduce a pre-9pm ban on junk food advertising.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: 'The BMA has been calling for increased funding for the NHS, and general practice in particular, to enable a sustainable service and respond to the growing needs of our patients.

'This should be well beyond the current plans and at least match that invested by comparable European countries.

'Politicians of all parties should be honest with the electorate that this will require the incoming Government to spend a greater share of our GDP on health and social care services.'

Readers' comments (4)

  • There is a MASSIVE & PERVASIVE misunderstanding about what tax is.
    Listen up
    The UK is a sovereign (fiat ) economy. In this economy, there are ONLY two types of money/credit: 1. sovereign money, which the elected Government is the monopoly provider of 2. bank money which is created by commercial banks when you take a loan. The latter is subservient to the former.

    Now, deep breath everyone....

    There is NO LIMIT to how much sovereign money/credit that the Government can issue. Literally. Just say that sentence to yourself 10 times every morning until it sinks in.

    The constraints are 1. the inflationary pressure of too much money in the economy and 2. the VOLITION of the Government

    If the Government wanted to DOUBLE GP pay tomorrow, it takes nothing more than a few clicks on a treasury lap-top with a spreadsheet on the screen. It dos not WANT too. Saying it can't afford to (and conversely the LibDems talking about a percent here and there) is a simple smokescreen. Please see through it people !

    Last slogan: your tax deductions DO NOT PAY for anything per se. It is simply a means of draining money/credit from the economy to preclude inflationary pressures from all the sovereign money pouring in at the top.

    I am on a mission to get this through to the general population. Argue with me. Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough. It is the biggest deceit that politicians hide behind, some without knowing it

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  • Spot on JJ.

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  • Totally agree JJ. Quantitative easing and a low central bank rate allows money to enter 'only' at the top of the pyramid. It is supposed to trickle-down, but doesn't. Multinational companies can borrow at almost 0%. Instead of using this borrowed money to invest in their business they buy back their own shares inflating the value. Annual board director's pay bonus is linked to the value of their company's shares. So the elite become wealthier. The middle classes, like Doctors and other professionals, lose the most. Those at the bottom of the ladder already have virtually nothing. So-called 'helicopter money', where money is virtually given to everyone lower down the ladder could perhaps work. It would stimulate the economy, but as JJ says one does not want to start too much inflation. However a low inflation rate, so long as it's kept under control, is a good way to get rid of debt. The problem we are moving to is where the elite own virtually everything, but no one else is paid enough money to purchase products from the companies that they own. So again there is no incentive for the elite to invest in the business.

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  • I know economics has a lot of shifting sands, but, not many would argue that LOW inflation is good for debt repayment. The opposite is the case. ie HIGH INFLATION = increasing prices AND wages (unless you are a GP, ha, ha) which reduces your fixed debt /earnings ratio

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