Islanders will have to pay £35 million in charges or Social Security by 2019 to fund the growth in health spending, ministers have confirmed.
Although they are refusing to label the new charge a 'health tax' they are planning either major increases in charges for hospital services, or another increase in the Social Security contributions that we pay out of our wages.
The £35 million in extra charges is one part of the package of measures revealed yesterday to fill the £130 million black hole in public finances that ministers say is likely to grow. The rest will be made up of £60 million from workforce savings – most likely a pay freeze and major redundancies from the £1m-per-day States workforce – or £25 million worth of cuts to benefits and services.
That black hole is partly down to a shortfall in tax receipts compared to what the previous Treasury Minister had predicted, and partly down to increases in spending – the Health department is due to get another £47 million on top of the £198 million per year that they already spend.
Treasury Minister Alan Maclean said that he had ruled out suggestions for an increase in GST that would be 'ring-fenced' to pay for healthcare.
“It would be too easy for someone to come along and break that ‘ring fence’,” he said.
“Underpinning all of this there has to be a big debate about how we are going to deal with this additional investment in health.
“As far as the Health department is concerned, we need significant additional funding to make the necessary investment.”
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