Jacob Rees-Mogg backs tax breaks for work private healthcare schemes

Jacob Rees-Mogg backs tax breaks for firms giving staff private healthcare saying it will ease pressure on the NHS and blasts Tory ‘nervousness’ about changes that will ‘make the queues for public health lower’

  • Mr Rees-Mogg said there was now a ‘political appetite’ for reform of healthcare
  • In a podcast he said the Tories should be ‘encouraging’ people to go private
  • Ex-health secretary Sajid Javid previously backed charging for GP appointments

Companies should be offered tax beaks to encourage them to offer staff private healthcare to ease pressure on the NHS, a former minister said today.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ex-business secretary, became the latest Tory grandee to urge changes to the health system as he urged the party to abandon its ‘nervousness’ about the subject.

In a podcast he said they should be ‘encouraging’ people to go private as the NHS buckles under massive pressure.

It comes after former health secretary Sajid Javid at the weekend suggested that people be charged for GP appointments and going to A&E to help ease the crisis.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ex-business secretary, became the latest Tory grandee to urge changes to the health system as he urged the party to abandon its ‘nervousness’ about the subject.

In a podcast he said they should be ‘encouraging’ people to go private as the NHS buckles under massive pressure.

It comes after former health secretary Sajid Javid at the weekend suggested that people be charged for GP appointments and going to A&E to help ease the crisis

In his Moggcast podcast for the Conservative Home website Mr Rees-Mogg, who was in the Cabinet until September, said there was new ‘political appetite for reform’ of the health service.

He highlighted comments by Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting on changes to the way GPs work and said the Tories ‘need to be thinking about it very seriously’.

‘I think we should encourage people to use private health, I don’t understand the nervousness about using private health which makes the queues for public health lower,’ he said.

Asked about a call by fellow Tory James Cartlidge for tax beaks for private health insurance schemes, he added:  ‘As a general rule I’m in favour of low tax rates and very few breaks. 

‘I think there is a very good argument to be made for saying that companies should be able to provide health care for their employees on a tax deductible basis rather than it being fully taxed to National Insurance.’ 

Mr  Javid proposed charging patients to see their GPs or attend Accident and Emergency departments as a way of reducing demand on the system. 

He accused the public of having an appreciation of the NHS which approaches that of ‘a religious fervour’, which he describes as a ‘barrier to reform’. 

He said charging at the point of service would be ‘extending the contributory principle’, stressing that those on low incomes would be protected. 

Writing in The Times, Mr Javid described the current system was ‘unsustainable’ and the only method for rationing NHS services was to make people wait on a list.

He said the country needed a ‘grown up and hard-headed conversation’, while cross party support was needed to bring in new charges. 

The Prime Minister is not ‘currently’ considering the proposals, Downing Street told the newspaper. 

Mr Sunak mooted fining patients who missed GP or hospital appointments £10 during his unsuccessful run for the Tory Party leadership against Liz Truss. However, days after getting the keys to Number 10, he performed a u-turn.   

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