Coalition VAT bill will hit Scottish NHS

A Parliamentary Question (PQ) released by the SNP has revealed the damaging consequences Tory-Liberal coalition plans to increase VAT to 20% would have on the NHS in Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon’s answer to former GP Ian McKee MSP reveals that the UK coalition could place a burden of £26 million on the NHS in Scotland through increased VAT payments with over £23 million directly affecting Health Boards.
Lothians SNP MSP Dr Ian McKee said:
“£23 million is huge chunk of Health Board budgets and this is the last thing the NHS needs.
“With resources getting tighter in coming years, increasing taxes paid by the NHS and other public bodies to the Treasury seems ridiculous.
“It may be slightly less than the £36 million Labour planned to take from the NHS in National Insurance, but it is still an unacceptable cost at a difficult time.  There is simply no sense in taking money from public services to put back into the Treasury’s coffers.
"Increasing VAT will put a strain on our public services at a time when they need support more than ever.
“The SNP Government will do everything in our power to protect frontline public services and NHS jobs and I challenge the new coalition’s Holyrood colleagues and the Labour opposition to join with the SNP in opposing what would be a drastic attack on NHS spending at a crucial time.”
Deatils of the PQ:
21 May 2010
Index Heading: Health and Wellbeing
Ian McKee (Lothians) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive  what the implications of a rise in VAT from 17.5% to 20% would be for NHS boards in Scotland. (S3W-33760)
Ms Nicola Sturgeon :
The estimated implication of a rise in VAT from 17.5% to 20% for NHS Boards in Scotland is shown in the following table.
NHS Boards               £m
Ayrshire and Arran      2.1
Borders                 0.4
Dumfries and Galloway   0.7
Fife                    1.4
Forth Valley            1.4
Grampian                2.3
Greater Glasgow & Clyde 6.5
Highland                1.4
Lanarkshire             1.8
Lothian                 2.3
Orkney                  0.1
Shetland                0.1
Tayside                 2.8
Western Isles           0.1
NHS Boards Total        23.4
NHS Special Health Boards
Scottish Ambulance Service      0.5
National Services Scotland      1.4
NHS 24                          0.1
The State Hospital              0.4
Golden Jubilee National Hospital        0.6
NHS Education Scotland          0.1
NHS Health Scotland             0.0
Quality Improvement Scotland    0.0
NHS Special Health Boards Total 3.1
NHS Scotland Total              26.5
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