NHS: Tory MP calls for tax relief on private health insurance

Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh called for the measures in Parliament

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The Government should give tax relief for private health insurance, a Conservative backbencher has said.

Asked what the Government is doing to address elective procedure backlogs, health minister Edward Argar said: “We have committed an additional £1 billion this year to increase elective activity, and tackle the backlog, doubling the £1 billion already provided through the elective recovery fund.

“Over the next three years we plan to spend more than £8 billion to fund the biggest catch-up programme in NHS history, coming atop, of course, the record £33.9 billion increase in funding and the health and care levy.”

Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) said: “More and more people of my generation and older are finding more and more delays in elective procedure, but the response of the Government – and we’ve just heard it – appears to be that we just pump more and more taxpayers’ money into the bottomless pit of the NHS, resulting in ever more waste and lower productivity.

“Why doesn’t the Government – this Conservative government – not use innovative private-sector solutions to try and relieve some of the pressure on the NHS, and do what the Major government did – hardly a right-wing extremist – and give tax relief for private health insurance?”

Mr Argar said the investment in the NHS “goes hand-in-hand with innovation and reform”.

He said: “The NHS is utilising the independent and private sector to carry out procedures for NHS patients. As he would expect me to say, matters of tax breaks or similar are for the Chancellor not for me.”