Public supports tax rise to pay for NHS

Most people would pay more in tax if it meant safeguarding the NHS, according to a new ComRes poll for the Independent.

Most people would pay more tax if it meant safeguarding the NHS, according to a new ComRes poll for the Independent.

Over half (57 per cent) of those surveyed agreed that they would be prepared to pay more tax to maintain the current level of care and services, while 41 per cent disagreed.

The poll comes at a time of increasing strain on the health service, with even senior Tories warning that the NHS would “collapse” if funding was not increased in the next parliament.

But the polling may not provide much comfort for Labour, who have been considering a ‘health tax’ as part of a plan to head off an NHS cash crisis. Just 33 per cent of people trusted Ed Miliband to protect the NHS, compared to 29 per cent who trusted David Cameron.

Meanwhile despite hostility on the left toward private sector involvement in health provision, two thirds of those surveyed (67 per cent) said they did not mind if health services were provided by a private company as long as they remained free of charge. 30 per cent disagreed.

Head of political polling at ComRes Tom Mludzinski said the NHS would be a “key issue” on which the 2015 General Election would be decided:

“The fact that most Britons say they are willing to pay more in tax in order to protect the NHS just goes to show the peril of being seen by voters to neglect it,” he added.

According to ComRes, Labour’s lead has dropped from five to two points since last month, and is now on 32 per cent. The Conservatives are unchanged on 30 per cent while UKIP are up four points to 18 per cent. The Liberal Democrats are down one point to a record low of 7 per cent, and other parties on 13 per cent (no change).

ComRes interviewed 1,005 adults in Britain by telephone between 27 and 29 June. Data is weighted to be democraphically representative of all GB adults.

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