PATIENTS who drive to hospital will be clobbered by a new “health tax” under new motoring charges planned by Labour.
The sick, pregnant women giving birth and their families would all have to pay to use cars – ON TOP of crippling parking charges.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth wants to impose clean air zones around all NHS buildings without consulting local residents.
It would mean anybody driving into the hospital precincts would be hit with a charge unless their motor met tough new low-emissions standards.
In London, clean air zones set up by Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan force many motorists to pay charges of £12.50 a day for entering designated areas.
But extending the idea around NHS buildings would mean patients, their families, nurses and doctors would face charges just to get to the hospital.
‘HITTING MOST VULNERABLE’
Furious campaigners warned it would mean a double whammy for hospital patients and visitors already hit by heavy parking charges.
Four in ten NHS hospitals increased parking prices last year – some of them doubling the cost of leaving the car.
A total of 124 NHS trusts – 43 per cent – hiked parking charges, according to a freedom of information request.
Patient groups have accused private firms who operate some hospital car parks of using motorists as “cash cows”.
Tory MP Ben Bradley said: “This is an underhand attempt by Labour to impose even more taxes on the general public, and would hit sick patients and their relatives when they are at their most vulnerable.
“This government is already leading the way in tackling air pollution across the country and reducing our carbon emissions in the NHS without charging patients.”
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James Roberts, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, added: “Expecting patients to cough up for clean air charges is callous beyond belief.
“Improving air quality is a noble aim, but these zones are yet another attack on hard-up taxpayers, and aren’t even the most effective way of cutting emissions.
“Instead of slapping a stealth tax on the sick, politicians should be looking at ways to cut the costs of getting to hospital, like tackling rip-off parking charges.”
Car loan offer
MILLIONS of interest free loans would be offered under Labour to boost the number of electric cars.
Sums of £33,000 will be on offer to low income households, rural households and small businesses to buy the motors.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said a Labour government would cover the £1,500 cost of interest on a loan allowing individuals to save up to £5,000.
There would be a total of 500,000 interest free loans issued each year over a five-year Parliament.
Those taking part in the scheme will have to sign up to a trial of new technology in a push towards renewable energies in the UK.
Labour say the move will aid the transition from petrol and diesel cars.
John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said: “This will stimulate the automotive industry, it will sustain jobs in the conversion from fossil fuels to electric but actually it will create new jobs as well.
“So this is beneficial in terms of the climate, it is beneficial for those people who want to convert their carbon-fuel powered car into an electric vehicle that is sustainable.
“At same time it will help support the automotive industry and create jobs. Those jobs are in areas where we have had real issues, particularly with Brexit.”
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