Taxpayers in England, Scotland and Wales are willing to pay more tax to help fund the NHS, according to research.
A survey of 20,000 people, conducted by researchers YouGov, found over 50 per cent of respondents in all areas of England, Scotland and Wales support the move, with the highest support in the South West and lowest in London.
The poll gathered views on support for increasing the basic rate of National Insurance from 12 per cent to 13 per cent and raising the basic rate of income tax from 20 per cent to 21 per cent, with the money used to increase spending on the NHS.
Support for increasing National Insurance is strongest among ABC1s – people from the three higher social and economic groups – and the over-55s, at 58 per cent. A total of 27 per cent oppose, with 15 per cent undecided.
Approval for increasing the basic rate of income tax is less strong at 48 per cent with 36 per cent opposed and 16 per cent undecided. Agreement is stronger from ABC1s and older people – it is highest in the South West and lowest in the West Midlands.
‘On the brink’
The findings come in the run up to the Autumn Budget on 22 November in which the Chancellor has come under increasing pressure to make provisions for a health and social care sector on the brink.
In a letter to Philip Hammond last month, coordinated by the NHS Confederation, a coalition of leading health and care organisations urged the Chancellor to revisit current spending plans for 2018/19 and 2019/20 to ensure the system is supported to maintain high standards of care.
It warned that the NHS Constitution is already being breached and that millions of patients and those needing social care now face unacceptable delays and difficulties in accessing treatments, care, information and support.
‘Do the right thing’
Commenting on the suvey's findings, 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 not only that the public across the UK supports more resources for the NHS, but 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 Chancellor to act - from the health secretary himself, the head of NHS England and all our members who actually run the system, to the medical royal colleges, local government, as well as those representing patients, users and carers.
“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, even within government, the cries for more funding are unequivocal.
“It is time for the Chancellor to do the right thing – our members are happy to be held to account but their plea is ‘give us the financial tools to do the job'”.
Find out more
View the NHS Confederation's Autumn Budget submission, which outlines nine ways the Chancellor can give health and social care services stability and certainty in the Autumn Budget.