Liberal Democrats ‘ready to raise taxes to pay for NHS’

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron at the party's conference this week
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron at the party's conference this week
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HIGHER TAXES could be the price to pay for guaranteeing the future of the NHS, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron will warn today.

Mr Farron will declare the Lib Dems are ready to make the case for raising taxes to properly fund the health services and social care.

The Lib Dem conference has been dominated by the issue of Europe but Mr Farron will use his speech today to showcase the party’s wider agenda.

Mr Farron will say the country needs to “face the hard truth that the NHS needs more money – a lot more money” to stop it “lurching from crisis to crisis”.

Criticising the standards of care for older people, he will say: “For years, politicians have chosen to paper over the cracks rather than come clean about what it will really take – what it will really cost – not just to keep the NHS afloat but to give people the care and the treatment that they deserve.

“And that means, finally, bringing the NHS and the social care system together.”

Mr Farron will tell delegates in Brighton the Lib Dems will offer voters “a new deal for health and social care, honest about the cost, bold about the solution.”

He will add: “If the only way to fund a health service that meets the needs of everyone, is to raise taxes, Liberal Democrats will raise taxes.”

The speech will also see Mr Farron contrast his party’s stance on testing with Theresa May’s desire to see more selection in state schools.

He will commit the Lib Dems to scrapping the Sats (Standard Assessment Tests) taken by primary school children, arguing they “weigh heavy on children as young as six and add nothing to the breadth of their learning”.

“What are we doing wasting our children’s education and our teachers talents on ticking boxes? And what are we doing, in 2016, threatening to relegate 80 per cent of our children to education’s second division by returning to the 11 plus?

“Every parent wants to send their kids to a good schools. But more grammar schools are not the answer,” he will say.

Mr Farron will criticise the “London-centric” approach of politicians who treat “the provinces as alien curiosities” and criticise the “calculating forces of darkness” who exploited public anger to take Britain out of the European Union.