Two-thirds sup­port more taxes to en­sure NHS spend­ing is kept up

The Observer - - NEWS - By De­nis Camp­bell Health Pol­icy Editor

Two in three peo­ple are pre­pared to pay more tax in or­der to en­sure the cash-strapped NHS has the money it needs to pro­vide good care.

New polling for the King’s Fund think­tank found that two-thirds (66%) of the pub­lic are will­ing “to pay more taxes in or­der to main­tain the level of spend­ing needed” on the health ser­vice.

Only one in five (20%) would en­dorse cuts in spend­ing on other ser­vices such as wel­fare and ed­u­ca­tion so that the NHS could re­ceive a boost to its bud­get. Even fewer – 10% – be­lieve that the health ser­vice should re­duce ei­ther its level of care or range of ser­vices to bal­ance its books.

“Clearly the [ris­ing] vol­ume of noise around the prob­lems the NHS is fac­ing, and the warn­ings from within the health sec­tor around in­ad­e­quate fund­ing, are in­creas­ingly cut­ting through to the pub­lic in a sig­nif­i­cant way,” said Dan Wellings, a se­nior pol­icy an­a­lyst at the King’s Fund.

“The fact that two-thirds of the pub­lic are say­ing that they would pay more tax to fund it shows the strength of feel­ing around NHS fund­ing.”

The poll also showed a huge ma­jor­ity, 77%, be­lieved the NHS to be “cru­cial to Bri­tish so­ci­ety” and that it must be prop­erly main­tained.

The Depart­ment of Health said: “It is en­cour­ag­ing to see that sup­port for the NHS re­mains as high as ever and the pub­lic can be re­as­sured that the gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to con­tin­ued in­vest­ment in the health ser­vice, in­clud­ing an ex­tra £8bn over the next five years.”

The 66% back­ing readi­ness to pay more tax is one of the high­est fig­ures ever recorded since poll­sters be­gan ask­ing vot­ers that or a sim­i­lar ques­tion.

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