Labour will not have to raise taxes to fund NHS pledges, says Wes Streeting

Labour will not have to raise taxes to fund NHS pledges, says Wes Streeting
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 19/05/2024

- 12:12

The party has pledged to spend £1.1 billion to pay staff extra for out-of-hours working

Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting has denied that taxes will have to be raised across the board to fund its promises on the NHS.

Asked if taxes would have to be raised, Wes Streeting told GB News: “No. In fact, that's the approach that the Conservatives have taken, which is why we've got this enormous tax burden that's hitting people on lower and middle incomes.

“That's not going to be Labour's approach and when you look at how we're paying for our policies, what we are doing is raising money in a fairer way than the Conservatives, because we know that the tax burden on working people is too high.

“We're not going to pick the pockets of working people in the way that the Tories have. But when we do need to raise money for good Labour policies, it's going after people who've got broad shoulders and who aren't paying their fair share and that will be Labour's approach if we win the next General Election.”

He continued: “AI-enabled scanners will mean that we can get those waiting lists down faster. We don't rely on Conservative special advisers for our costings, we consult think tanks, we consult experts so that our figures are robust and that's how we get to policies that are fully costed and fully funded.

“I think it's been an appalling spectacle this week, actually, given how little time these guys have got left before the General Election.

“We had Esther McVey spending an entire day talking about rainbow lanyards and a few government offices, an entire day of the Chancellor of the Exchequer talking about Labour's costings.

“Why don't they pull their finger out and do their job instead of carping at the opposition? It feels to me like we're taking the job of being ready for government very seriously, they're preparing for opposition.”

Asked if a Labour government would have a battle on its hands trying to extend evening and weekend working in the NHS, he said: “I don't actually, because we're taking an approach that's been tried and tested in a small number of hospitals in big cities and we want it to work everywhere.

“This would be entirely up to staff whether they join in or not, but all of the evidence we've seen so far suggests there will be people able and willing to put in a bit of extra time and be paid fairly for evenings and weekends.”


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