Tim Farron: Liberal Democrats will put up taxes to fund the NHS

The Liberal Democrat leader will also close his party conference by blaming George Osborne’s ‘punishment budget’ for Brexit

Tom Peck
Tuesday 20 September 2016 02:50
Mr Farron will say that Theresa May must explain what Brexit really means
Mr Farron will say that Theresa May must explain what Brexit really means

The Liberal Democrats will raise taxes to save the NHS, Tim Farron will tell his party’s conference in his closing speech on Tuesday.

He will also lay the blame for the Brexit vote on George Osborne, and his threat of a “punishment Budget” during the referendum campaign.

He will also call for the abolition of SATS tests in primary schools.

“If the only way to fund a health service that meets the needs of everyone is to raise taxes, Liberal Democrats will raise taxes,” Mr Farron will say.

“For years, politicians have chosen to paper over the cracks rather than come clean about what it will really take – what it will really cost – not just to keep the NHS afloat, but to give people the care and the treatment that they deserve.

“And that means, finally, bringing the NHS and the social care system together.”

Mr Farron will talk about his struggle to find appropriate care for his own grandfather, who lives with Alzheimer’s.

“In my grandpa’s journey through Alzheimer’s, he had good care in the home he spent his last couple of years in. But when he first became ill after the death of my grandma, the place he was put in was despicable.

“Lonely, unclean, uncaring. It’s a few years back, but as I fought to get him out of that place and into somewhere better, it occurred to me that this was a standard experience for too many older people and their loved ones.

“And if some people can just shrug and accept this, well, I can’t. It’s not civilised to let people slip through the net.”

After the referendum, Mr Farron held a meeting with Leave voters to try and find their reasons for voting out. He will say that George Osborne’s punishment budget was a big factor.

“Here was this guy, George Osborne, who they didn’t really like. And who they felt didn’t really like them.

“And he’d appeared on the telly bullying them into doing something they weren’t sure they wanted to do.

“So those people in that room, like millions of others, wanted, quite understandably, to give the powerful a kicking. So they did.”

He will also say that Theresa May must explain what Brexit really means, and will call for a second referendum on the terms of Brexit.

“Theresa May did so little in the Remain campaign that she actually made it look like Jeremy Corbyn pulled a shift.

“You’ve had three months. You are the Prime Minister. Act like a Prime Minister. What is your plan?”

The Lib Dem leader will caution against expanding grammar schools and call for the abolition of SATS exams in primary schools.

“I want to end the current system of SATS in primary schools that are a distraction from the real education that professional teachers want to give their children; that weigh heavy on children as young as six and add nothing to the breadth of their learning.

“And what are we doing, in 2016, threatening to relegate 80 per cent of our children to education's second division by returning to the 11-plus?” he will say.

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