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Labour's Ed Miliband plans mansion tax to boost NHS funds

By Staff Reporter

Labour would use the proceeds of a mansion tax on homes worth more than £2m to head off a funding crisis in the NHS, Ed Miliband will announce today.

In his speech to the Labour conference in Manchester, Mr Miliband will promise to "save" the NHS, amid forecasts of a £30bn funding gap by 2020. Using some of the £2bn raised from Labour's proposed high-value property tax will be seen as a move to "soak the rich" rather than ask taxpayers to top up the health budget.

Mapping out his 10-year "national mission" to transform Britain, Mr Miliband will pledge that the number of first-time home buyers would be doubled to 400,000 a year under a Labour government.

The Labour leader will unveil a six-point plan setting out ambitious goals that he believes would take two five-year parliamentary terms to complete, because the problems Labour would inherit would be so deep-seated.

His other "national goals" for "Britain 2025" are to:

  • Ensure as many school-leavers take up apprenticeships as go to university, by raising the number of apprenticeships from about 100,000 to 400,000.
  • Halve the number of people (now five million) on low pay.
  • Tackle the cost-of-living crisis by ensuring the five million self-employed people are not "locked out" of pensions and mortgages.
  • Double the number of jobs in "green industries" to two million.
  • Build a "world-class 21st-century health service."

His final Labour conference speech before next May's election is designed to answer criticism that Labour has a raft of policies but no over-arching vision.

His aim is to "raise people's sights" with a positive picture of what Britain could become and to match the Conservatives' much-trumpeted "long-term economic plan". Mr Miliband wants to make the NHS the centrepiece of his speech as he tries to shift the spotlight away from Tory plans to bring in "English votes for English laws" alongside greater devolution for Scotland, which have put Labour on the defensive.

Labour previously earmarked the proceeds from its proposed mansion tax to meet its plan to bring back a 10p starting rate of tax.

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