Liberal Democrats publish interim report from independent panel on Health and Social Care
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats have today published the interim report by the independent panel of health experts commissioned by Norman Lamb to set out a new deal for Britain's Health and Social Care Services.
The panel is independent of the party and is making recommendations based on the experience and expertise of its members which they hope are considered by all political parties.
The panel was set up by Norman Lamb in Autumn 2016 with the remit to ask the difficult questions about the challenges facing health and social care and to come forward with bold solutions needed to meet them.
Today's report has been published ahead of the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference this weekend to update the party on its progress. The full report will be published later in Spring.
Amongst the key conclusions are:
- The current funding settlement for our health and care services is not fit for purpose. It is well documented that there is a projected funding gap in the region of £20bn across health services by 2020/21 and a further £6bn gap in social care.
- The panel is unanimously of the opinion that it is necessary to raise additional revenue for health and care through taxation.
- The panel will propose the establishment of an independent body to make health and care budget recommendations to Government, setting out what is needed to deliver services and essentially providing a similar function to that of the Office of Budget Responsibility.
- The panel are considering a number of options for where additional taxation should come from, taking account of how we can raise the amount of money needed; but also, how this can be done in a way which is progressive and takes account of intergenerational fairness.
- The options under consideration are as follows and the panel will conclude which of these they think is preferable in the final report:
- Raising Income Tax
- Raising National Insurance
- Introducing a dedicated health and care tax
Commenting Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:
"I commend Norman Lamb for establishing this independent panel and thank them for their work so far. I hope this is a wake-up call for politicians as to the scale of the challenge we face in Health and Social Care.
"I have made clear that we will take the final report and its recommendations seriously, and we can see from this interim document that bold solutions will be needed to tackle the ever growing challenges facing health and social care. My guarantee is that the Liberal Democrats will consider these seriously and will not shy away from offering big solutions."
Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said:
"I thank the panel for their work, I brought this panel together in the face of the undeniable crisis in health and care. We have over a million older people with unmet care needs, people having to wait months for the treatment they need, and a situation that is only going to get worse.
"The government are dragging their heels on offering anything resembling a vision for the future of health and social care in Britain. We are a wealthy country, we have to do right by our sick and elderly and excuses and promises of fixes tomorrow simply are not good enough."
The full report can be read here