Jeremy Corbyn vows to abolish 'illness tax' hospital car parking charges
Labour would scrap hospital car parking charges in England, Jeremy Corbyn has announced.
The policy – which costs £190m – would be paid for by increasing taxes on private health insurance.
Mr Corbyn said hospital parking charges amounted to a “tax on serious illnesses”.
“Labour will end hospital parking charges, which place an unfair and unnecessary burden on families, patients and NHS staff,” the Labour leader said.
“Our hospitals are struggling from under-funding at the hands of Theresa May’s Conservative government, but the gap should not be filled by charging sick patients, anxious relatives and already hard-pressed NHS staff for an essential service.
“Our NHS needs a Labour government that will stand up for the many, not the few.”
Speaking to nurses at a hospital in Worcester, he pointed out the cost of charges to some NHS staff, saying: “It’s crippling to you because you need your cars to get in because of the hours you work, and obviously for visitors as well.”
Labour estimates that hospitals’ charges raise £162m for hospitals, with the rest of the cost made up by extra funding to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland under the Barnett Formula.
The money would come from increasing the tax rate on health insurance premiums from 12% to 20% – a policy the party says would raise £377m per year.
The announcement is the latest in a string of health policies already laid out by Labour before the publication of its manifesto.
If it wins the coming general election, Labour has said it will halt the current Sustainability and Transformation Plans to make efficiencies in the health service pending a wider review, ban junk food advertising on TV before 9pm to help tackle child obesity, and scrap the 1% pay cap for NHS workers.