The Liberal Democrats have pledged to save the health and social care system if they come into power at the next general election.
In a new policy paper launched over the weekend, the party said it will revoke Brexit, and by doing so, it will tackle the crisis in social care.
The party warned that if Brexit goes ahead, the effects will be “devastating”, with delays to accessing medicines and proposed immigration rules set to create barriers to workforce recruitment.
It said Brexit would leave the country with less money for public spending, making it difficult, “if not impossible”, to find the necessary funds to meet the needs of an ageing population.
In their bid to win the next general election, the Lib Dems promised to “save the NHS and social care” and “end the waste of public money on no-deal preparations by stopping Brexit”.
On tackling the social care crisis, the party pledged to raise a further 1p on the pound from income tax – around £6 billion a year – and use this to “meet the immediate priorities in social care”.
In the medium-term, the party said it would establish a cross-party commission to set a “realistic long-term funding settlement” for the NHS and social care, and introduce a dedicate health and social care tax to fund it.
It also pledged to fund an EU recruitment campaign, end the government’s “inflexible” £30,000 earnings threshold for overseas workers and recognise the “equally important contribution of social care staff” through a new professional body for care workers and improved training and career development.
“Both Labour and the Conservatives are consumed by infighting over Brexit. They have forgotten their most important responsibility is to look out for those who are sick, disabled or in crisis. We demand better,” the policy paper states.