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Raise taxes to increase NHS funding, says GP MP

The Government needs to raise more money for the NHS from the public, House of Commons health committee chair and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston has said.

The Tory MP told the House of Lord's committee on NHS sustainability that politicians had to decide whether that would be via income tax or through national insurance.

Dr Wollaston, who has previously critcisied the Government for 'misleading' the public on the funding increase it is promising the NHS, also criticised ministers for failing to make 'politically difficult' decisions that would protect NHS finances by keeping people healthier.

She said: ’I personally think that we should use a mechanism, a public mechanism… either [raising income tax] or through national insurance.

'I think you need to have a mechanism to bring more money into the system as a whole. It is not for me to tell you what is the right mechanism but I think there needs to be a cross-party consensus about how we achieve that in the long term.’

In the session, Dr Wollaston also called for the Government to put in place more public health measures, going ahead with policies that would make unhealthy food and drink more expensive to consume.

She said: 'I think the key barrier to this is political will, frankly, because sometimes it means making politically difficult choices.'

But she added: 'I think if you explain to people why you are making these choices, and actually present it as a form of nudge – you're not telling people that you can't do things, you're not banning things – but you're making it at the point where people are making decisions, making it easier to make a better choice.'

 

Readers' comments (6)

  • Mr Mephisto

    Its no use to us if you raise more money and spend it all on secondary care - that's what has gotten us into this mess in the first place.

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  • If only she was SoS for Health!

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  • Why only through central tax? The public finds £7billion for hair cuts a year yet central taxation can only fund £8billion for primary care. All options need exploring.

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  • Nothing should be free at the point of use, the NHS can only be rescued with copayments.

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  • Vinci Ho

    You see , Sarah, it is always difficult to fathom why you are still a member of the Conservative Party as you sound more like your opposition parties' colleagues in the House of Commons than anybody else . It is perhaps morally decent sitting on the comfort zone of the Health Select Committee to criticise the government run by YOUR party while your Prime Minister and Chancellor colleagues are living on a different planet .
    Let's look into taxation as we are talking about taxes . Your party fundamentally favours low rates of taxation, fact. In an extraordinary time of history called era of Brexit in the middle of a Virtual Third World War (war theatres in Middle East and possible confrontations behind the back door between US and China) , your party insists to keep taxes low with the emphasis to prevent foreign investments from leaving London . In fact , it wants to create a 'haven' for them . (Read Simon Jack's article on BBC news :Why did McDonald's flip out of Luxembourg? - BBC News;
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38255087) . It is always a 'difficult political decision' to raise tax for any party but considering the relatively low UK corporation tax rate , the common sense is to raise a couple of percents to help the dire situations of Health as well as Education . National Audit Office (NAO) strongly criticised the handling of school funding by your party :(Schools face cuts of £3bn, says watchdog BBC news
    By Sean Coughlan,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38301843).
    Instead , your Chancellor would only consider letting local councils make own decisions in raising council tax , only because of uncomfortablly loud noises made by protagonists defending the poor state of social care funding . As I said before , we are facing a possible referendum here in Liverpool to raise council tax by 10%.
    When it comes to making a choice , it is obvious your government wants to choose economy (businesses and banks) over people (health , education and welfare). I respect the argument ' No money , no say' but is your government doing the 'right' thing at the 'right' place at the 'right' time?
    I am afraid that your homework is called ' soul searching '.

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  • I thought George Osborne had promised no increase in income tax during this parliament.
    If this is the case no new money until at least 2020!!
    From headlines today it seems like education is also in dire staits thanks to HMG (mis) management

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