Nigel Farage caught on video suggesting NHS should be run privately

Labour has said the video shows "a vote for Ukip is a vote for the privatisation of the NHS".

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Indy Politics

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has been caught on film telling party supporters that the NHS should move away from the state-funded model, and towards a US-style insurance-based system.

The footage shows the Ukip leader say he would feel more “comfortable” if the UK’s healthcare was opened up to the “marketplace”.

His comments, made during his Common Sense tour of the UK in September 2012, clash with the party’s current line that it is opposed to the privatisation of the NHS.

Labour has since claimed that the footage shows Farage “poses as a man of the people” but it is now “plain for all to see that a vote for Ukip is a vote for the privatisation of the NHS”.

Mr Farage says at around 48:10 minutes into the hour-long meeting (shown below): “I think we are going to have to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare."

“Frankly, I would feel more comfortable that my money would return value if I was able to do that through the marketplace of an insurance company, than just us trustingly giving £100billion a year to central government and expecting them to organise the healthcare service from cradle to grave for us," he adds.


Other clips show Farage argue that the BBC should concentrate on radio programmes rather than television, which he believes would cut the cost of the licence fee to around £40 to £50.

Another clip showed the Euro-sceptic MEP propose that benefit claimants could be made to pick up litter after six months, and suggest that employee rights and protections such as maternity leave caused problems for small businesses.

Andy Burnham MP, the shadow health secretary, told the Guardian: “Nigel Farage poses as a man of the people, but his views on the NHS are out of step with 99% of the public.

“Farage can drink as many pints as he likes, but he’ll never be able to distance himself from these views that would go down like a lead balloon in pubs and clubs across the land

“It is now plain for all to see that a vote for Ukip is a vote for the privatisation of the NHS," he added.

However, a Ukip spokesman said: “Obviously things have moved on significantly since then. That was then and this is now. It doesn’t stand up to say that’s still his view” and that people in the party now know “significantly more about the NHS”.

The spokesman added that there was some truth in the idea that something has got to give in the NHS but it would be reckless and impractical to go that way in the foreseeable future.

The revelations come as Ukip attempts to win its second seat in the Commons in the Rochester and Strood by-election next week, where it has campaigned to protect the NHS.

But Labour has responded by point out in its campaign material that Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall posted a letter on his website a few years ago praising the coalition for bringing a “whiff of privatisation to the NHS”.