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'Unequivocal cries for NHS funding' in Budget as public back tax rises

Taxpayers across England, Scotland and Wales would be willing to pay more tax in order to fund the NHS, research has revealed.

When surveyed, over half of respondents in all areas supported the move to higher taxes to support the NHS.

The poll, by YouGov, quizzed participants on their views on increasing the basic national insurance rate from 12% to 13% and basic income tax from 20% to 21%, with the additional money being used to increase spending on the NHS.

The highest support was in the south west, whereas the lowest was in London.

Support for increasing national insurance was particularly high amongst ABC1s (those from the three higher socioeconomic groups) and the over-55s.

Income tax rises had weaker support, with 48% opposed to an increase. Again, support was strongest from ABC1s and older people.

The findings come as the Autumn Budget approaches, with mounting pressure for the chancellor to increase health and social care funding and with research this week suggesting a link between funding cuts and increased mortality.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of 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.”

He called the case for more health and social care funding “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,” he continued.

Dickson warned that the health and care system will continue to deteriorate without action: “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.’”