Ed Miliband to make a health tax centre of Labour manifesto?

All the talk over the summer has been that the Labour Party will look to make its poll lead on trust in leadership of the NHS central to its campaign for next year’s General Election, and reports in the Financial Times (£) at the weekend have suggested that the Labour leader Ed Miliband is considering an earmarked “health tax” or exempting the health service from deficit reduction should the party win next year’s election. It is reported that Miliband wants to offer a single “big policy” to prove to voters that Labour will be a better custodian of its future than the Conservatives, however Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is known to be lukewarm on the idea as tax rises do not sit comfortably with the party’s “cost of living crisis” narrative.

Another option for the party is to match Conservative spending levels on the NHS whilst repealing disliked parts of the Health and Social Care Act, and looking to tighten rules on competition to prohibit the likelihood of private companies winning contracts. A one per cent rise in National Insurance, floated by MP Frank Field and support by Jon Cruddas, head of Labour’s policy review, has been ruled out by the Chancellor.