Hospital Dr News

Public say they’re prepared to pay more tax to better support the NHS

Nearly two thirds of Britons are ready to pay more tax to bail out the NHS, a British Social Attitudes survey reveals.

The research finds widespread concern that the health service has been getting worse.

The 2017 study shows 61% of adults said they would be willing to pay more to prop up the NHS.

This is up from 49% in 2016 and 41% in 2014.

The figures follow an indication by the Prime Minister that she is considering a long-term plan for the health service within months.

Commentators are speculating that the poll could encourage ministers further to expand the NHS’s  £125billion budget.

Among Conservative supporters, 56% agreed, an increase of 13 percentage points in a year and 23 points since 2014.

Of the Labour supporters who took part in the survey, 68% wanted a rise.

Chief executive of the King’s Fund think tank, Chris Ham, analysed the data and said: “If I was sitting in Whitehall I would sit up and take notice. I have not seen anything as dramatic as this over such a time period.”

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “It is up to government how it raises funds for public services, but these figures clearly show that more of the public across the UK support more resources for the NHS and that they are willing to pay more tax to bring that about.

“The case for more money for both health and social care has been made and it is overwhelming. Just about everyone is calling on the government to act.

“Without action, our health and care system will continue to deteriorate; millions will wait, more will suffer and some will die. It is now clear that the cries for more funding are unequivocal.”

A separate, ring-fenced tax – i.e. hypothecated – that went straight to the NHS was the most popular option for boosting funding – supported by 35% of those who took part.

However, ministers are reluctant to consider this option.

A repeat of the increases to national insurance used by then-chancellor Gordon Brown in 2002 is one option under consideration after the Treasury ruled out a specific NHS tax.

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