Tim Farron to pledge tax rises to boost NHS funding
Tim Farron will today pledge to raise taxes to boost funding for the NHS to ensure it is no longer “lurching from crisis to crisis”.
Mr Farron will tell the Liberal Democrats' annual conference his party will provide a health service that “meets the needs of everyone”.
He will also call for a merger of NHS and care services and announce an expert panel to review the case for a “dedicated NHS and care tax”.
Speaking to delegates in Brighton, he will argue that the NHS needs investment now to ensure that patients can get the treatment “that they deserve”.
"We need to face the hard truth that the NHS needs more money - a lot more money - not just to stop it lurching from crisis to crisis but so that it can meet the needs and the challenges it will face in the years ahead," Mr Farron will say.
He will add: "If the only way to fund a health service that meets the needs of everyone is to raise taxes, Liberal Democrats will raise taxes."
Mr Farron is also expected to cite the experience of trying to secure a better home for his grandfather, who had Alzheimer’s.
"We all deserve to know that, no matter what happens, we will be cared for properly and treated with dignity and respect," he will say.
"It's not civilised to let people slip through the net."
He will add: "If the great Liberal William Beveridge had written his blueprint today, when people are living to the ages they are now, there is no doubt that he would have proposed a National Health and Care Service.
"So let's today decide to do what Beveridge would do. Let's create that National Health and Care Service."
Splits emerged at the top of the Lib Dems after Vince Cable, the former business secretary, said the party’s plans to call for a second EU referendum were “disrespectful”.
Delegates yesterday passed a motion calling for a second plebiscite on the Brexit deal secured by Theresa May, while Mr Farron has pressed for a follow up vote since 23 June.
Later today, Mr Farron will call on the Prime Minister to set out the Government’s Brexit plan.
"The Liberal Democrats have a plan. We know what we want and we know where we want to take our country. When Theresa May does agree a deal with the EU, we want the people to decide,” he will say.
"If we trusted the people to vote for our departure then we must trust the people to vote for our destination."
Mr Farron will also pledge to abolish primary school SATs, arguing he wants schools to be places “where children are inspired to learn, not stressed out by tests”.
And he will attack Theresa May’s plans to expand and create new grammar schools in England.
"What are we doing, in 2016, threatening to relegate 80% of our children to education's second division by returning to the 11-plus?" he will say.