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Most voters support tax rise to increase NHS funding, survey finds

Some 61% of respondents backed tax rises to generate more money for the health service.

The majority of voters support tax rises to help boost NHS funding, a new poll has found.

More than three out of five people (61%) said they would back a hike to provide more money for the health service, the 2017 British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey found.

Many respondents were pessimistic about the future of the NHS, with more than half (56%) expecting standards of care to deteriorate over the next five years, an increase of 21 percentage points since 2014.

The data release follows a recent Government commitment to provide a long-term funding plan for the NHS, which marks its 70th anniversary this year.

Last year, polling by Ipsos Mori and the King’s Fund similarly found 66% of adults were willing to pay more of their own taxes to fund the NHS.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the health service, said “cries for more funding are unequivocal”.

“All fundraising options must be kept on the table,” he added.

The survey, analysed by the King’s Fund health charity think tank, found 61% supported tax rises to fund the NHS, an increase of 21 percentage points from 2014 and 12 percentage points from 2016.

About 35% backed the option of creating a separate tax that would go directly to the health service and 26% said they would be happy to pay more through existing taxes.

Support for an NHS tax rise has increased among Conservative Party voters, from 33% in 2014 to 56% last year, compared with 68% of Labour Party backers.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of respondents (86%) said the health service faced a major or severe funding problem, an increase of 14 percentage points from 2014.

Just one in five (17%) thought NHS care had improved over the last five years, the lowest level for two decades, according to the analysis.

Just about everyone is calling on the Government to act Niall Dickson, NHS Confederation chief executive

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the health service, said “cries for more funding are unequivocal”.

He said: “It is up to government how it raises funds for public services, but these figures clearly show that more of the public across the UK support more resources for the NHS and that they are willing to pay more tax to bring that about.

“The case for more money for both health and social care has been made and it is overwhelming. Just about everyone is calling on the Government to act.

“Without action, our health and care system will continue to deteriorate; millions will wait, more will suffer and some will die.

“It is now clear that the cries for more funding are unequivocal.”

– The BAS survey of about 1000 adults from England, Scotland and Wales was conducted by the National Centre for Social Research between July and October 2017.

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