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General election: Labour’s ‘£7.4bn a year extra for NHS’

unnamed (10)Labour says it will spend an extra £37bn on the NHS in England over the next five years if it wins power.

The investment, including £10bn on upgrading IT systems and repairing buildings, would be funded by tax increases and capital borrowing.

Jeremy Corbyn blamed the NHS cyber attack on “Tory cuts”, promising a service “fit for the modern day”.

Prime Minister Theresa May questioned where the money would come from to pay for Labour’s plans.

The NHS is facing one of its toughest-ever financial challenges as it struggles with a growing and ageing population, and there have been warnings about a looming funding gap in years to come.

Labour says the extra money would:

Take one million people off waiting lists by guaranteeing treatment within 18 weeks

Set a new one-hour A&E target for the most urgent cases and guarantee no more than a four-hour wait for other patients

Set a new target to tackle “bed blocking” by patients waiting for care arrangements before they can be released from hospital

Cancer patients to be seen within four weeks

Mr Corbyn set out his party’s £37bn “new deal” for the NHS in England – to be spent over the course of the next Parliament – at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) conference.

Speaking in Liverpool, he said the health service was threatened by privatisation and another five years of a Conservative government would leave the NHS “cut back, broken up and plundered by private corporations”.

Labour, he said, would put the NHS “back on its feet”.

He also promised to end the cap on NHS pay and appoint an independent body to decide future increases. He also pledged to create a minister for mental health services as part of drive to deliver “parity of esteem”.

Labour said a “big chunk” of the £10bn infrastructure investment would be spent on upgrading the health service’s computers, to ensure no repeat of the cyber-attack that has hit dozens of NHS trusts.

It pointed to a National Audit Office report saying that in February the Department of Health had transferred £950m of its £4.6bn capital projects budget to meet day-to-day revenue costs.

The party said its funding pledges would be paid for “substantially” by raising income tax for the highest 5% of earners, as well as corporation tax increases, raising tax on private medical insurance and capital borrowing.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said they were putting money in, but in return would expect “tougher targets” to be met.

Labour would be outlining their taxation plans in their manifesto launched on Tuesday, but it would mostly be funded by taxing those earning £80,000 and more.

“We’re asking those with broader shoulders to pay a little bit extra in in tax. And all that tax that’s earned from those tax changes for people earning £80,000 or more will go directly to the NHS,” he told BBC Breakfast.

The Conservatives said they were putting an extra £10bn into the NHS, and dismissed Labour’s plans.

Mrs May said under a Conservative government the NHS had seen record funding.

“You can only ensure we have a first-class NHS if we have a strong economy to have the funding to put into the NHS.

“We have a plan to build on our stronger economy, Labour would wreck the economy which would mean less money for the NHS.”

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