PUBLIC BACKS TAX RISE TO PAY FOR NHS
A majority of people are ready to pay more tax to safeguard the NHS, according to a ComRes survey for The Independent.
Asked if they would be prepared to pay more tax to maintain the current level of care and services provided by the NHS, 57 per cent agreed and 41 per cent disagreed. The finding will encourage Labour, which is considering an earmarked “health tax” as part of its policy review to head off a looming NHS cash crisis.
However, the poll found that Ed Miliband has only a narrow lead over David Cameron on health, traditionally one of Labour’s strongest issues. One in three people (33 per cent) trust Mr Miliband to protect the NHS, while 29 per cent trust Mr Cameron.
Two in three people (67 per cent) say that they do not mind if health services are provided by a private company or the NHS as long as they remain free of charge, while 30 per cent disagree.
According to ComRes, Labour’s lead has dropped from five to two points since last month. Labour is now on 32 per cent (down three points); the Conservatives are unchanged on 30 per cent; UKIP is up four points to 18 per cent, its highest in a ComRes telephone poll for The Independent; the Liberal Democrats are down one point to a record low of 7 per cent, and other parties on 13 per cent (no change).
Tom Mludzinski, Head of Political Polling at ComRes, said: “Beyond the economy and immigration, the NHS will be the key policy issue on which the 2015 General Election is decided, and the fact that most Britons say they are willing to pay more tax in order to protect the NHS just goes to show the peril of being seen by voters to neglect it. Although traditionally it has been difficult for the Conservatives to get traction with voters on the NHS, voters seem to trust neither leader particularly to protect what is perceived as a valuable national institution.”
Methodology Note: ComRes interviewed 1,005 GB adults by telephone between 27th and 29th June 2014. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. Data were also weighted by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.