Tax rises to bolster NHS backed by majority of voters

Full Story in The Guardian 12 April 2018

Voters are ready by nearly two to one to pay more tax to bolster the NHS. A large face-to-face survey carried out before the winter crisis struck the health service in November has recorded the biggest-ever shift of opinion on the issue.

The poll, carried out by the respected British Social Attitudes research centre, has recorded a jump from 41% support for higher taxes in 2014 to 61% at the end of last year. An even higher proportion, nearly nine in 10 people, thought there was a funding crisis.

It also found a matching rise in opinions about the quality of NHS care, with nearly three times as many saying healthcare was declining, with most expecting it to get worse still. Only a fifth thought the standard of care would improve.

Theresa May has promised higher funding for the health service, but not until after a spending review this autumn. At current estimates, the NHS in England alone will be £900m in deficit by the end of this year, and Jeremy Hunt, the health and social care secretary, is calling for a 10-year pay settlement as part of a push for a significant increase in spending.