The Liberal Democrats have announced they would plug funding gaps for the NHS and social care by putting a penny on income tax, in their first major manifesto commitment of the election campaign.

The tax would raise an additional £35 million for Lewisham, with £24m for the NHS and £11m for social care each year.

This is the party’s flagship spending commitment and its first major policy announcement for the election. The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto will also set out a ‘five-point recovery plan’ for NHS and social care services.

At least 70% of Brits would happily pay an extra 1p in every pound if that money was guaranteed to go to the NHS, an ITV poll found last October.

Bobby Dean, the Lib Dem candidate for Lewisham Deptford, said:

“A real opposition needs to come up with real policies – and that is what the Liberal Democrats are doing.

“The Lib Dems are prepared to be honest with people, and say that to secure the future of the NHS we will all need to chip in a little more.

“And the people agree. Britain loves its NHS, and recognises that it needs protecting from Conservative under-funding.”

Emily Frith, our candidate for Lewisham East, said:

“Residents of Lewisham are rightly proud of their hospital, as well as of the work done by healthcare professionals across the borough.

“But, in the face of this Brexit Government, those doctors, nurses and carers need all the support they can get. The Lib Dems are promising to provide that support.

“A penny in the pound would allow us to improve local services and ensure that the elderly receive the care they deserve.”

John Russell, our candidate for Lewisham West and Penge, added:

“Only the Liberal Democrats have a clear, real and sustainable long-term plan for funding our NHS and adult social care.

“Free, high quality healthcare is the cornerstone of our health service. Adding a single penny to income tax will help this continue both locally and nationally.

“The Lib Dems are committed not just to protecting the NHS today, but also to enhancing it for tomorrow and for future generations.”

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson and former health minister Norman Lamb said:

“The NHS was once the envy of the world and this pledge is the first step in restoring it to where it should be.

“A penny in the pound to save the NHS is money well spent in our view.

“But simply providing more money on its own is not enough and that’s why this is just the first step in our plan to protect health and care services in the long-term.”

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