Jim Murphy: SNP tax plans would devastate NHS

�2 billion would be cut from funding according to the Scottish Labour leader. Picture: John Devlin
�2 billion would be cut from funding according to the Scottish Labour leader. Picture: John Devlin
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THE SNP’s vision of full fiscal autonomy for Scotland would result in a £2 billion cut to the health budget, according to Labour.

Research commissioned from the impartial Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice) shows the budget for the NHS would drop from just over £12 billion to just over £10 billion, the party said.

Leader Jim Murphy said an end to the Barnett formula used to distribute public funds across the UK under SNP plans to make Scotland responsible for all its tax and spending would result in “austerity max” for the health service.

Last week a report by Westminster’s Scottish affairs select committee said the policy would cost Scotland £6.5 billion, while the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) put the impact at £6.6 billion.

Labour argues that if this cut was spread evenly across Government departments, the health budget would be reduced by £2 billion.

Mr Murphy said: “The SNP’s plans for Scottish-only taxes to support Scotland’s public services would mean a £2 billion cut to our NHS.

“This week, Scotland’s accounts showed that while Scotland contributes £400 more per head of population in tax revenues, we receive £1,200 more per head in public spending.

“Under the SNP’s plans we would lose this Barnett bonus, which would devastate our NHS.

“This year we have seen a crisis on our A&E wards. Patients waited in Portakabins and were told to bring their own pillows to hospital. Our NHS needs more support, but the SNP’s plans mean austerity max for our NHS.”

Mr Murphy said Labour would spend £1 billion extra on the NHS over the course of a Parliament and deliver 1,000 more nurses, funded by a tax on properties costing more than £2 million.

He added: “Only a Labour Government can deliver this. Every vote the SNP takes off of Labour makes a Tory Government more likely. In May we can end Tory austerity and deliver more for our NHS by voting Scottish Labour.”

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