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Reform UK pledges ‘tax breaks for nurses’ in election manifesto

Reform UK pledges ‘tax breaks for nurses’ in election manifesto

Reform UK has pledged to give tax breaks and write off student fees for nurses and doctors.

Nigel Farage launched his party’s manifesto, which he called ‘Our Contract with You’, at an event in Wales on Monday.

He called for an ‘absolutely radical rethink’ of the way public services are run, including the NHS.

The party’s ‘contract’ stated that it would aim to ‘end all doctor and nurse shortages’ and ensure all frontline NHS and social care staff pay zero basic rate tax for three years.’This will help retain existing staff and attract many who have left to return,’ the document said.The party also said it would write off student fees pro rata per year over 10 years of NHS service for nurses, doctors and medical staff.

To boost private healthcare, the party would also provide a 20% tax relief on all private healthcare to ‘improve care for all by relieving pressure on the NHS’.

And it also pledged to give patients a ‘voucher for private treatment’ if they cannot see a GP within three days.

‘NHS patients will receive a voucher for private treatment if they can’t see a GP within three days. For a consultant it would be three weeks. For an operation, nine weeks. Services will always be free at the point of use,’ the document said.

The party has claimed that these policies form part of a ‘fully funded plan for zero NHS waiting lists’, and in total, the pledges for the NHS would cost £17bn per annum.

Mr Farage said: ‘It’s been very, very difficult to have any conversation about the NHS over the course of the 25 years that I’ve been in politics without someone pointing and screaming “you want to privatise it”.

‘All we want is an NHS that is free at the point of the delivery that actually works. And how we get there, frankly, I don’t think most people could give a damn about.’

He also admitted that Reform UK, which began six years ago as the Brexit Party, will not win this election, but it is the ‘first important step on the road to 2029’.

In response to the new ‘contract’, BMA council chair Professor Philip Banfield said there are ‘highly ambitious goals’ but ‘large questions remain about the claimed costs and savings’ behind some of the proposals.

He continued: ‘Of course we want to get NHS waiting lists down, but at a near-record 7.7 million procedures outstanding, we must be realistic and not falsely raise patients’ hopes.

‘To abolish NHS waits, you need to invest in rebuilding the NHS, not overpromise the private sector or mass outsourcing overseas as some kind of panacea.’

Ahead of the general election on 4 July, the Conservative Party has pledged to expand nurse recruitment, while Labour has announced plans to ‘reform’ primary care by introducing a National Care Service. 

And the Greens have promised that any MPs elected this year will ‘push for’ increased funding to primary care, with an aim for additional annual spending to reach £1.5bn by 2030.

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