LABOUR WILL face fresh questions over how it would pay for its ambitious spending plans today as it promises to add £37bn to the NHS budget if it wins the General Election.
The party will insist its plans to raise income tax on the top five per cent of earners, to reverse corporation tax cuts and impose higher taxes on private medical insurance will cover the cost.
Labour’s health plans include promises to bring back the 18-week target for non-urgent surgery and for A&E patients to be seen within four hours.
A Labour government would spend £10bn on improving hospital buildings and IT systems and create a £500m fund to help the health service deal with extra demand in the winter months.
Jeremy Corbyn will unveil the plans, billed as a “New Deal for the NHS” in a speech at the Royal College of Nursing today.
He will say: “This is about having a health service for the many. In the past seven years the Tories have driven our National Health Service into crisis.
“A&E departments are struggling to cope. Waiting lists are soaring and, and as we saw last week, Tory cuts have exposed patient services to cyberattack.
“Imagine what would happen to the NHS if the Conservatives under Theresa May were to have another five years in power. It would be unrecognisable: a national health service in name, cut back, broken up and plundered by private corporations.
“Only Labour will put the NHS back on its feet. Today we are pledging an extra £37bn over the course of the next Parliament, including £10bn of capital funding to make sure that NHS buildings and IT systems are fit for the modern day.
“That investment will mean the NHS will be able to guarantee treatment within 18 weeks and ensure those needing A&E services are seen within four hours.”
Labour has already promised to put on hold controversial changes to NHS services including the closure of A&E departments.
Tensions have emerged between Downing Street and NHS chief executive Simon Stevens in recent months over the levels of funding to the health service with Mr Stevens warning of a squeeze next year.
Earlier this year the British Medical Association called for an extra £10bn a year to be added to the NHS budget.
Labour is promising to inject £37bn over the next five years.
Labour’s promises on the NHS follow a weekend which saw Labour set out plans for a “Robin Hood Tax” on financial transactions and increasingly personal clashes between Conservative and Labour figures.
Labour’s Emily Thornberry turned the Sunday morning airwaves blue in an exchange with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.
Sir Michael claimed Mr Corbyn had shown “quite open support for the IRA” in the past - a suggestion disputed by Ms Thornberry who told him: “You really can’t just go around making this stuff up.”
Sitting alongside Sir Michael on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Ms Thornberry told him: “You have just said, for example, that I want to negotiate the future of the Falklands. That is b*******.”
Sir Michael said a victory for Mr Corbyn would be “too great a risk for this country” but was forced to defend himself after Ms Thornberry brought up his participation in a trip to see Syrian leader Bashar Assad in 2007.
“There is a huge moral difference between talking to other foreign leaders - I meet them all the time as Defence Secretary - and Jeremy Corbyn’s quite open support for the IRA,” he said.