Can Labour ‘save and transform’ the NHS?

Ed Miliband

Labour leader pledges to turn around health services

Labour’s Ed Miliband has vowed to “save and transform”  the NHS, planning to reveal more details in due course.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham is also due to speak about what a £2.5 billion annual funding boost could mean for patients, although Mr Miliband has already stated that his government would provide 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GP’s, 5,000 more care workers and 3,000 more midwives by 2020.

Paying for change

Mr Miliband suggested many ways in which the new ‘time to care’ fund would be paid for, firstly revealing that Labour would plan to raise £1.2 billion a year through ‘mansion tax’ on houses worth more than £2 million. He also proposes to crack down on tax loopholes used by hedge funds and other City firms, which would amount to a further £1.1 billion. Mr Miliband would also look to tobacco companies to contribute to the cost of treating smoking-relating illnesses, which would look to raise £150 million.

BBC health correspondent Nick Triggle said it was “not yet clear” what Labour’s £2.5 billion pledge would mean for the NHS. “The coalition government has actually increased the budget by a similar amount in cash terms, but that only equates to 0.1% rises each year in real terms once you factor in inflation,” he added.