How WILL you pay for it, Keir? Starmer dodges over funding to ‘fix’ the NHS as he vows to force through 9pm watershed on ads for junk food and crack down on marketing vapes to children
Keir Starmer made a series of bold pledges to ‘fix’ the NHS today – but refused to say how they will be funded.
The Labour leader used a speech in Essex to vow to tackle waiting lists, hit cancer treatment targets, and slash deaths from heart disease and stroke.
He also committed to forcing through a 9pm watershed for junk food ads and a crackdown on marketing vapes to children.
But Sir Keir was repeatedly challenged over how he would pay for the health service upgrade, and stopped short of saying explicitly that that there would be more cash available.
He pointed to specific proposals such as training more doctors using funding from abolishing so-called ‘non-dom’ tax status.
Keir Starmer used a speech in Essex to vow to tackle waiting lists, hit cancer treatment targets, and slash deaths from heart disease and stroke
However, Sir Keir claimed ‘money is important but it’s not all about money’, suggesting that he would focus on harnessing the power of technology and science to make the NHS more effective.
‘I’ve run a public service – I know that money makes a difference, but it only takes you so far. You can’t look at the problems now and tell me it’s just about money – that’s not serious,’ he said.
‘You can’t ignore the fact the world has changed – that’s denying the evidence before our eyes.’
He added: ‘The wonder of science has taught us, with ever-increasing clarity, that our health depends on how we live … and with artificial intelligence, with personalised medicine, with new vaccines, we stand on the cusp of a revolution that could transform healthcare for the better.
‘My message today is this – science and technology are the game-changers.’
Sir Keir argued that the Tories could not be trusted with the NHS, saying they viewed it as a ‘cost, not a cause.
‘While they have come to accept it as part of the political furniture, in their heart of hearts they don’t believe in its central promise,’ he said.
He said a shift was needed to put prevention first, including toughening up rules on junk food advertising to children.
He promised to ‘revolutionise mental health treatment’ with 8,500 new professionals providing specialist access in every school and guaranteed treatment inside four weeks for anyone who needs it.
Sir Keir said: ‘We will change advertising rules and we will make sure that products which are harmful to our children’s health – vaping, junk food, sugary snacks – cannot be advertised to our children. No – not in Britain.’
Labour has been committed to a ban on junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed for years. The government has also supported the idea, but delayed implementation until after the election.
Sir Keir stopped short of ruling out a salt tax in the event that the cost-of-living crisis eases.
He suggested there would be no such move while the cost of living crisis is raging, but
‘What we don’t want to do in a cost-of-living crisis is add to the burden of food costs,’ he said.
HM Treasury data shows the NHS received £100.4billion in 2010/11 and its budget had grown steadily until 2019
committed to forcing through a 9pm watershed for junk food ads and a crackdown on marketing vapes to children
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