Labour is today calling for funds raised from banks found guilty of manipulating the foreign exchange market to be invested in the National Health Service.
In a speech in Ipswich today, Ed Balls will say that in next month’s Autumn Statement the Chancellor should allocate £1 billion from the fines for an immediate boost to health and care.
Some of the remaining funds from the fines should go to boosting the work of the Serious Fraud Office so that it has the resources it needs to pursue individuals involved in this scandal and for future investigations.
Labour’s call follows the plans set out by Ed Miliband to raise an extra £2.5 billion a year – on top of Conservative spending plans – for an NHS Time to Care Fund.
As part of our plan to save and transform the NHS, this would deliver 20,000 more nurses, 3,000 more midwives, 8,000 more GPs and 5,000 extra home care workers by the end of the next Parliament.
In a speech to the Labour Party’s East of England regional conference today ahead of the Autumn Statement, Ed Balls will say:
“This latest banking scandal shows why we still need big reform and cultural change in our banks. But the fines levied on banks for foreign exchange manipulation should now be used for a wider good.
“And I believe an immediate boost to our National Health Service, which is going backwards under the Tories, must be a priority.
“Because under David Cameron it’s getting harder to see a GP, A&E is in crisis and waiting lists are going up again. £3 billion has been wasted on a top-down re-organisation while nurses and frontline staff have been lost. And cancer treatment targets have now been missed for three quarters in a row.
“So in next month’s Autumn Statement George Osborne should use £1 billion of the fines from the banks for an immediate boost to our health service.
“The Chancellor should act, but we all know only a Labour government can rescue our NHS from the Tories and transform it for the future.
“After the election, Labour will act quickly to raise an extra £2.5 billion a year, on top of Tory spending plans, for our NHS Time to Care Fund.
“This will allow us to deliver 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. We will guarantee that people will not have to wait more than a week for a cancer test or 48 hours for a GP appointment. And we will repeal David Cameron’s NHS changes that put private profit before patient care.
“Over the last four years David Cameron’s record shows you can never trust the Tories with the NHS. Labour rescued the NHS after years of Tory neglect before and we’ll do it again.”
He will also say:
“Ministers complacently claim the economy is fixed, but most people are not feeling the recovery.
“This Tory plan isn’t working for working people. The latest figures show wages falling in the last year and working people are over £1600 a year worse off under the Tories. Under this government house building is it at its lowest level since the 1920s, business investment is lagging behind our competitors and exports are way off target.
“So Labour’s economic plan will deliver a recovery for the many, not just a few at the top. Our plan will tackle the cost-of-living crisis, earn our way to higher living standards for all and save our NHS.
“We will raise the minimum wage, boost apprenticeships, get 200,000 new homes built a year and expand free childcare for working parents. And we will balance the books in the next Parliament, but do so in a fairer way – starting by reversing David Cameron’s tax cut for millionaires.”
The Financial Conduct Authority has levied £1.1 billion in fines from five banks as a result of their failings in their foreign exchange trading operations.
At Labour’s Annual Conference in September Ed Miliband set out how the next Labour government will raise revenues for a £2.5 billion a year NHS Time to Care Fund by introducing a tax on the highest-value properties over £2 million, closing tax loopholes and a new levy on tobacco companies.