Labour and Conservative plans for NHS spending cannot be trusted, the Lib Dem General Election candidate for Lichfield has claimed.
Health is expected to be one of the major battlegrounds of the campaign outside Brexit before voters head to the polls on 12th December.
But Paul Ray – who will contest the seat for the Lib Dems – says people in Lichfield and Burntwood can see first hand the challenges facing the National Health Service.
“The Liberal Democrats offer ambitious plans for our struggling NHS and other public services,” he said. “ASnd unlike Labour and the Conservatives, they are based on responsible funding commitments you can trust.
“We see the strain here in our own community – Lichfield no longer has a police station or help desk, GP waiting times are getting longer and longer and the council decided to close down our leisure centre at the Friary Grange. Thank goodness for the community action that got the Conservative council to reverse this.
“The Liberal Democrats recognise that a strong NHS and social care service for vulnerable members of our communities are fundamental rights for our citizens both nationally and here in Lichfield and Burntwood.
“And we will continue to campaign to keep the Samuel Johnson Community Hospital open, so that local residents don’t have to travel to Burton or Derby for relatively minor ailments and injuries, and can get treatment closer to home.”
“Wildly extravagant spending promises”
The Lib Dem hopeful – who stood for the party at the last two General Elections – said his party had sought advice from those on the frontline before costing their plans.
“The Conservatives and Labour are making wildly extravagant spending promises,” he said. “You just can’t believe them.
“By contrast the Lib Dems have sensibly costed plans. Our NHS, once the envy of the world, is struggling so badly after years of being starved of funding by this out of touch Tory government. Hospital waiting lists are growing, each winter brings a new crisis.
“At the national level, the Liberal Democrats asked for advice from an expert panel including the former chief executives of NHS England, the Royal College of Nursing and the Patients Association – and these experienced experts concluded that the NHS in England needs a real term funding increase of £4billion and further real terms increases of £2.5billion in each of the following two years.
“We will commit to that.
“Our funding plans are responsible. We will put a penny in the pound on income tax and that will be ring fenced to help fund our NHS and care services.
“We recognise that tax increases are not always popular, but properly funding the NHS is absolutely vital to this country’s future.
“The Liberal Democrats will fight to protect the NHS and our care services in particular here in Lichfield and Burntwood – and based on sensible and responsible funding plans.”
The candidates confirmed for the General Election so far are:
- Michael Fabricant – Conservative
- Paul Ray – Liberal Democrat
- David Robertson – Labour