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Scottish Labour promises £1bn NHS funding hike

The Labour Party has promised to increase funding for the NHS in Scotland by £1bn if it wins the general election next month.

The pledge formed part of the party’s ‘plan for Scotland’ outlined yesterday by Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, who said it would primarily be funded via the proposed ‘mansion tax’ on properties worth more than £2m.

It comes as the BBC reported last year on a £450m funding shortage in the Scottish NHS and as a BMA survey revealed last month that one in six Scottish GP practices have at least one vacancy.

Without going into much detail, Mr Murphy said the £1bn would help the Scottish NHS to ‘meet the challenge of an ageing population’ including funding 1,000 new nurses.

He said: ‘So we will tax the profits of the tobacco companies, make sure hedge funds pay their fair share and bring in a mansion tax on those most expensive properties, found mainly in London, to invest an additional billion pounds into our NHS. That enables us to deliver in Scotland, for starters, a thousand extra NHS nurses.’

UK Labour leader Ed Miliband announced last year that his mansion tax would fund 8,000 new GPs alongside 20,000 nurses, 3,000 midwifes and 5,000 more care workers.

The Scottish Government is currently reviewing the NHS workforce to determine where capacity is required, with the audit due to conclude in the autumn.