Lib Dems to pledge £9bn NHS and care ‘rescue package’

Lib Dems to pledge £9bn NHS and care ‘rescue package’

11 minutes ago

By Becky Morton, @beckyrmortonPolitical reporter

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The Liberal Democrats will promise a £9bn package “to save health and care services” in their election manifesto.

The party said its plans for government would be funded by reversing tax cuts for banks and closing tax loopholes exploited by the wealthiest individuals.

It says the NHS and social care will be “at the heart” of the party’s manifesto, which is being launched later on Monday.

The party’s plans if it wins power include giving everyone the right to see a GP within seven days, as well as free personal care for older or disabled people at home.

Health is devolved so the pledges only cover England.

Leader Sir Ed Davey, who has spoken about his experience of being a carer for his disabled son and previously caring for his mother – who died of cancer when he was a teenager – has made carers central to his party’s campaign.

The Lib Dems say their manifesto will be the first in the party’s history to include a dedicated chapter on care.

On Sunday, the party announced it would include a pledge to increase the Carer’s Allowance, available to people who look after someone with an illness or disability for at least 35 hours a week, by £20 a week.

They said they would also raise the eligibility threshold for the allowance to those earning less than £183 a week, with the changes costing a total of £1.4bn a year.

It has also promised to ensure care workers are paid at least £2 above the minimum wage to help tackle vacancies.

In total, the party would spend an extra £3.7bn a year on social care.

The Lib Dems have also promised to invest in hospital buildings and public health.

To boost cancer survival rates, it would guarantee all patients can start treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral.

The party says it would guarantee access to an NHS dentist for everyone needing urgent and emergency care.

Meanwhile, it wants to see mental health hubs for young people in every community, with regular check-ups at key points in their lives when they are vulnerable.

The party’s manifesto will include no increases to the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance contributions.

Instead it says £4bn would be raised by reversing tax cuts for big banks, while it plans to raise £5bn by closing the loopholes on Capital Gains Tax it says is used by the top 0.1% wealthiest individuals.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “Years of neglect and chaos under the Conservatives have left our health services in a state of crisis. It is outrageous that pensioners are forced to endure the indignity of being left in hospital corridors while millions of people struggle to see their local GP or dentist.

“By ending the health and social care crisis, we can boost our economy by getting people back to work whilst giving people the dignity they deserve in their hour of need.”

Other policies in the manifesto will include:

Plans to overhaul the water industry and tackle sewage pollutionA dedicated mental health professional in every primary and secondary schoolA guarantee that all domestic burglaries would be attended by police and properly investigated

The Lib Dems are targeting areas where they came second to the Conservatives in 2019, especially the so-called “blue wall” areas of southern England that were once Tory strongholds.


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