Tax-funded NHS here to stay, says Chancellor

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Indy Politics

An independent report on possibe means of funding the NHS has concluded that "health care that is financed through general taxation is both a fair and efficient one".

The report , by Derek Wanless, former chief executive of the NatWest Bank Group, had found that other European countries had over decades committed significantly more of their national income to healthcare. Mr Brown also said that it highlighted the difference that putting the NHS on a sustainable longterm footing would make to healthcare.

The Chancellor Gordon Brown used the report as the basis for comments in his pre-Budget statement in the Commons today, during which he announced that spending on the NHS would be increased by an extra £1 billion next year, bringing the total rise to £6 billion. This represents a 9.6 per cent rise in cash terms and 7 per cent in real terms.

The Chancellor said he wanted to forge a "national consensus" that a publicly-funded NHS with higher long-term investment was best for Britain. He said that spending decisions made next year will set the path for a decade or more, adding: "I believe it will be right to devote a significantly higher share of national income to the NHS."