'Put your money where your mouth is': Lib Dems challenge Cameron over NHS

Danny Alexander will demand immediate injection to head off funding problems

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The Liberal Democrats will challenge David Cameron to “put his money where his mouth is” by boosting the health  budget before next May’s general election.

The Prime Minister has pledged that a Conservative government would ensure above-inflation rises for the NHS in England each year between 2015-20. But Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem Treasury Chief Secretary, will demand that an immediate injection to head off funding problems is announced in George Osborne’s autumn statement later this year.

Today Mr Alexander will trump the Tories’ promise for the next parliament by saying that the Lib Dem manifesto will pledge a further £1bn for the NHS.  It would be funded by tax rises for the wealthy, including a  cut in the lifetime allowance for pension tax relief from £1.25m to £1m. He said: “Our NHS is the jewel in our country’s crown.”

At the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow starting today, activists will challenge Nick Clegg over the Coalition’s NHS and welfare reforms.  They will call for more tax rises for the rich after next year’s election to distinguish the party’s deficit-reduction plans from the Tories’.

Gareth Epps, co-chairman of the Social Liberal Forum pressure group, said: “We need to go into the election with a fiscal package that is clearly our own. We know there will have to be cuts but we need to do more to ensure the very wealthy pay their share.”