Brighton and Hove Lib Dems pledge a penny on income tax to pay for the NHS

Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats have announced they would plug funding gaps for the NHS and social care by putting a penny on income tax, in their first major manifesto commitment of the election campaign. People go to the polls on Thursday 08 June.

A penny on income tax would raise an additional £31.5 million with £20m for the NHS and £11.5m for social care each year.

This is the party’s flagship spending commitment and its first major policy announcement for the election. The Liberal Democrats manifesto will also set out a ‘five-point recovery plan’ for NHS and social care services.

At least 70% of Brits would happily pay an extra penny in every pound if that money was guaranteed to go to the NHS, according to an ITV poll last October.

Hove Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Carrie Hynds said: “Right now in our city we are seeing patients lying on trolleys in hospital corridors, urgent operations being cancelled and the elderly being denied the care they need.

“The Liberal Democrats are prepared to be honest with people and say that to secure the future of the NHS we will all need to chip in a little more.

“A penny in the pound would allow us to invest in improving local NHS services and supporting our mental health services that are in crisis.

“This conservative government has left our health and care services chronically underfunded – and while the crisis gets worse they just don’t seem to care.

“We cannot continue asking the system to deliver more and more, without giving it the resources to do so.”

Speaking about the national picture, Lib Dem Health Spokesperson and former health minister Norman Lamb said:

“The NHS was once the envy of the world and this pledge is the first step in restoring it to where it should be.

“A penny in the pound to save the NHS is money well spent in our view.

“But simply providing more money on its own is not enough and that’s why this is just the first step in our plan to protect health and care services in the long-term.”

Look out for the Liberal Democrats manifesto which will set out a ‘five-point recovery plan’ for NHS and social care services.

Paul Chandler said income tax will include a 1% rise on the basic, higher, and additional dividend rates of income tax in the next financial year.

When asked about the £70 million deficit in the budget of Royal Sussex County Hospital, Mr Chandler said: “Yes, the local NHS trust is in deficit – like many other trusts and so our additional money (estimated to be £4 billion) is intended to be on top of any measures that need to be taken to reduce current deficits.

“I suspect those deficits will be written off in due course by using contingency funds. The money that we are raising via a penny increase in the basic rate of income tax (about £4 billion) will be a committed and ring-fenced amount that will be added to the NHS base budget for every year.

“This contrasts with recent Labour budget increases on those earning over £80,000 which the party estimates will raise less than £2 billion a year (and which Labour has committed to spending several times over!)

“Additional funding for Brighton and Hove is calculated by assuming an even spread of the extra revenue across all the NHS trusts in England.”

Mr Chandler stood aside for the Greens in Brighton Pavilion earlier this month and stood in Kemptown in 2015.