A new tax earmarked solely for the NHS and social care is among the recommendations from a panel of 10 experts in a report on healthcare reform commissioned by the Liberal Democrats.
The NHS in England needs a real terms funding increase of £4 billion in 2018-19 and further real terms increases of £2.5bn in each of the following two years, according to the panel, which includes former chief executives of NHS England, the Royal College of Nursing, and the Patients Association.
In the first instance, the NHS funding gap could be filled by an income tax increase, but, in the long-term, health and care funding should be brought together in a single ring-fenced tax to replace National Insurance, the report argues. Other recommendations include:
· Creating an Office for Budget Responsibility for Health
· Introducing incentives to encourage people to save more towards adult social care
· Additional revenue for local authorities to invest in public health
· Reinstating the cap on the costs of adult social care.
The panel also argued that consideration should be given to scrapping the total exemption from National Insurance Contributions for people who work beyond the age of 65 years.