Miliband promises emergency Budget within 100 days

21 Apr 15

Labour would hold an emergency Budget within 100 days of coming to office to introduce a new tax on homes worth more than £2m and a levy on tobacco firms, Ed Miliband has announced.

Setting out plans to launch an emergency recruitment round for nurses to ease staffing pressures in the NHS today, Miliband confirmed that an emergency budget would be held with the aim of raising additional resources from the start of the parliament.

The funding would also be used to provide for 1,000 extra training places this year.

This would ensure that frontline pressures were eased as soon as possible, including reducing what Miliband called the ‘spiralling bill for agency staff’.

He added that the party’s immediate rescue plan for the NHS also included moves to fully join up health and social care, which was needed to make the service sustainable and successful for years to come.

‘To save the NHS from the trouble it’s in, we can’t wait,’ he said. ‘With A&E in crisis, staff shortages, and hospitals weighed down by large deficits, this plan has to start immediately, with real money, right now.

‘So today I can announce in our first 100 days, our first Budget, our first year in office, we’ll begin to bring in funds from the mansion tax and tobacco levy.

And we will use that money to support the NHS with our immediate rescue plan.’

Responding to Miliband, a Conservative spokesman said the coalition government had inherited a nursing crisis with the scandal of short-staffed wards at Mid Staffs and other failing hospitals.

‘We have turned that round with record high nurse numbers on our wards and a new focus on compassionate care,’ he added.

‘Unlike Ed Miliband, we have committed the additional £8bn a year the NHS says it needs [in the Five Year Forward View], which is the only way to ensure hospitals have the money they need to increase staff.’

Responding to the report, Health Foundation chief executive Dr Jennifer Dixon said all political parties that may play a part in the next government need to be clear about how they will address the £30bn funding gap faced by the NHS by 2020/21.

The Five Year Forward View proposes that £22bn should be found through efficiency savings and an extra £8bn a year should be the minimum amount of extra funding the NHS receives, she added.

‘Today’s announcement of a plan to rescue the NHS in the first one hundred days of the next parliament includes repealing part of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and provides some examples of how health and social services could be more integrated.

‘Labour has also previously alluded to “fundamental changes” to address “big questions unanswered about integration of health and social services” in the Five Year Forward View. It’s important that any party setting out an alternative to NHS England’s plan explains in detail what that entails and how long it will take for the effect of these changes to be felt.’


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