Health Poll Tax call shows Labour cannot be trusted with Scotland’s NHS


The publication of a new report calling for the introduction of a health
poll tax has shown that Labour simply cannot be trusted to protect the NHS.

The report by think-tank Reform was drafted by Labour’s Lord Warner,
former Minister for Health Reform and calls for the introduction of a
£10 per month ‘membership fee’ to gain access to NHS services and a £20
per night charge for hospital in-patients. The report also calls for
higher prescription charges, which are still paid in England despite
their abolition in Scotland.

In September 2012 Johann Lamont attacked what she called a ‘something
for nothing’ culture and set up a Cuts Commission to look at cutting
free-prescriptions, the older person’s bus pass and free education.
Since then the Cuts Commission has failed to report and Labour is today
under pressure to reveal whether Lord Warner’s plans are part of their
Cuts Commission’s plans.

Commenting, SNP MSP Aileen McLeod said:

“The recommendations that Labour’s Lord Warner has drawn up are nothing
less than an outright attack on the founding principle of the NHS – that
healthcare should be freely available when a patient needs it, funded
from general taxation.

“For people with long-term and complex health needs, the payments he is
demanding would quickly add up and cause real hardship for the poorest

“When the SNP moved to abolish prescription charges and end that unfair
tax on ill-health, Labour’s response was to set up a Cuts Commission to
take the axe to that and other vital parts of the social contract that
binds Scotland together.

“With Johann Lamont’s apparent determination to make NHS users pay for
their ill-health, patients across Scotland will rightly be concerned
that Lord Warner’s report is part of what Labour’s Cuts Commission has

“On the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the poll tax, people
south of the border are now being faced with the introduction of a
health poll tax.

“This dangerous idea being considered at Westminster by unelected Lords
demonstrate the benefits of deciding our own affairs in Scotland – in
terms of our NHS, Scotland is already effectively independent.

“Lord Warner’s report is a further demonstration that Labour simply
cannot be trusted to protect the NHS and the principles that underpin
it. Only a Yes vote in September can build on the protection of
Scotland’s NHS.”

Notes to Editors:

Details of the proposed charge for using NHS services can be viewed at:

The report by Lord Warner can be viewed at: