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Former minister proposes dedicated NHS tax to manage health care costs

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Former health minister Norman Lamb has said a dedicated NHS tax could be introduced to manage soaring health care costs.

During the Liberal Democrat party conference in Brighton, Mr Lamb announced a panel of experts would consider the case for a special levy to fund the NHS and care system, the Evening Standard reports.

The Lib Dem MP said: “Political parties are scared, very nervous about saying anything about tax.

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“They see it as not in their interest to be completely honest (with the public) about the scale of the problem and so nothing is said.

“There’s a complete dishonesty with the public about this.

“It’s no good just condemning the Government for its failure to invest in the NHS and social care. We have to surely come up with our own solutions.

“We must lead the debate. That’s why I want this party to consider a dedicated NHS and care tax.”

Mr Lamb said he believed the public would be willing to pay the tax because they would know where the money was going.

The panel will consider whether local authorities would be able to adjust the rate depending on local need.

Mr Lamb said the public could be asked to pay an “extra penny in the pound” to fund health care.

The political debate on how to future healthcare costs is intensifying with a report last week showing that some care home providers were on the brink of collapse (see Social care at tipping point).

Former Tory health minister Dan Poulter last month called for a new tax to fund the health and social care system (see Ex minister calls for new tax to fund NHS and care).

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The author Lee Peart

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