Liberal Democrats pledge to plough billions into mental health by putting a penny on income tax
The Liberal Democrats will raise income tax in order to fund a multi-billion pound spending boost for mental health services if it wins the general election.
The party said it would put a penny on every pound paid in income tax from April, with £11bn of the £35bn raised over the next Parliament ringfenced for treatment.
They said the money would go towards child and adolescent services, matching waiting time standards with those in physical health and expanding the NHS's mental health workforce.
The Lib Dems branded provision a “postcode lottery” as it stood, and said people with severe mental illness die on average 15-20 years earlier than the rest of the general population.
They added that by prioritising young people, “it is possible” to ensure that no one will have to travel out of area for “all but the most specialist mental health services”.
The party’s health spokesperson, Luciana Berger, said: “Our country is in the grip of a mental health crisis, with more and more people desperately seeking support, and being let down by the underfunded services on offer.
“Liberal Democrats want to achieve real equality between mental and physical health and have announced ambitious plans to do so.
"Focusing on our country’s young people, and those who have had a difficult start in life, will provide a solid framework to improving the prospects of those with severe mental ill-health for generations to come.
“Drastically reducing waiting times, by providing proper funding to our services will ensure that no one has to travel long distances to access treatment.
“Removing prescription costs for those with chronic mental health conditions, shows how seriously we as a party take mental health.”