Health bosses in Northamptonshire need to save £230 million over the next five years to balance the books... but would you be willing to pay extra tax to prop up the NHS?
The Northamptonshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) was released in December, setting out plans for the local health service over the next five years.
The document revealed Northamptonshire is facing a £40 million year-on-year deficit, meaning the various NHS trusts in the county will need to save a combined £230 million by 2021.
But after the Red Cross described the health service as being in the grip of a “crisis” earlier this month, serious thought has been paid to introducing a ring-fenced tax that would go purely to the NHS.
Yesterday Surrey County Council announced it was to hold a referendum on increasing its council tax by a whopping 15 per cent - £200 a year for the average household - to help ease pressure on its social care services.
The decision could trigger other cash-strapped councils to follow suit. Here in Northamptonshire adult social service are set for a £24 million cut in 2017/18.
In September the Liberal Democrats announced plans to set up an independent panel looking into the possibility of a dedicated NHS and care tax.
When The Guardian asked leader Tim Farron him whether he felt people would be willing to pay an extra penny on top of their tax bill, he said: “Yes, potentially.”
But how do you feel? Would you be willing to pay extra tax to help give additional funding to the NHS? Take part in our poll here.