The Conservatives have claimed to have “matched” the Liberal Democrats’ £8bn spending commitment on the NHS. This “commitment” from the Tories is completely unfunded, so it is no commitment at all.
Unlike the Liberal Democrats, they have not set out at all how they will finance the extra spending, so this announcement is nothing more than a lazy attempt to grab a headline.
The NHS is a crucial issue and the Liberal Democrats remain the only party to have a fully funded commitment to deliver the extra £8bn in spending that the NHS itself says it needs.
Only the Liberal Democrats will give the NHS the extra funding it needs whilst also making sure that we neither cut too much like the Conservatives or borrow too much like Labour.
This is how the Liberal Democrats will fund their £8bn NHS spending commitment:
- The additional £1.7bn that the Liberal Democrats successfully secured in the Autumn Statement for 2015/16 will be maintained.
- In addition to this funding, we will invest a further £1bn in real terms in 2016/17 (£250m of which we secured in this year’s budget). This will be paid for by restricting reliefs on Capital Gains Tax and scrapping the Conservative shares for rights scheme.
- Once we have finished the job of tackling the deficit in 2017/18, we will increase health spending in line with growth in the economy. We are the only party that will increase health spending in line with growth in the economy at this point, because the Conservatives will still be cutting public spending and Labour won’t have balanced the books