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Church of England Archbishop Tells Govt to Find ‘Courage’ to Raise Taxes

CANTERBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 21: The Most Reverend Justin Welby, strikes three times on the West Door of Canterbury Cathedral with his pastoral staff prior to his enthronement service to become Archbishop of Canterbury at Canterbury Cathedral on March 21, 2013 in Canterbury, England. The newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury …
Chris Ison - WPA Pool/Getty

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told the government it needs to find its “nerve” to raise taxes and increase borrowing to prop up the struggling National Health Service (NHS).

The Most Reverand Justin Welby told the private audience of the Institute of Directors last week that “there was a certain level of higher taxation” among previous governments “and we seem to have lost our nerve about that”, reports The Telegraph.

“We seem to have also lost our nerve about the importance of National Insurance as a way of funding the welfare system, particularly the health system,” he added.

Archbishop Welby also criticised the low taxation legacy of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when asked whether he thought it influenced a political culture of not raising taxes on Britain’s citizens by saying: “Yes. The evidence for that is reasonably strong electorally but we just need politicians with more courage.”

Welby, who is the Primate of England and the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, also dismissed concerns about national debt – which is currently at £1.8 trillion – as “panic” and said the country should borrow more to fund public services.

His support for more institutional borrowing echoes recent comments by open borders campaigner George Soros who said that the European Union (EU) should tap into its good credit and borrow up to €1.8 billion (£1.4 billion/$1.9 billion) to give in funding to Africa in order to stabilise the continent and, according to his theory, stop the flow of migrants heading for Europe.

The most senior figure in English Protestantism recently came under fire from Brexiteers for extolling the virtues of the EU, claiming it was “the greatest dream realised for human beings since the fall of the Western Roman Empire” which brought the “gift” of “diversity” in comments Breitbart London’s James Delingpole diagnosed as evidence Welby is suffering from “Brexit Derangement Syndrome”.

Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, told The Telegraph that raising taxes on citizens to fund the NHS “would not be courageous, but irresponsible”.

“If they want to be brave, politicians must stand up to these ever-louder siren calls for raising taxes and higher borrowing as the solution to everything – for the sake of those who will end up having to pay for it,” he said.

Last month, Mr. Littlewood rejected Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s call for increased taxes to prop up the struggling health service, saying that the NHS needs “wholesale reform… not throwing arbitrary amounts of taxpayers’ money at the issue. Such an approach is short-termist and will only necessitate more large injections of cash down the line.”

There is current debate on whether Prime Minister Theresa May’s government should raise taxes to support the NHS with a £4 billion cash injection ahead of the service’s 70th birthday next month.

In January, a poll of medics found that two in three hospitals and half of GP offices are short on doctors; however, the government only announced at the end of 2016 that the number of medical school places would increase by 25 per cent (from 6,000 to 7,5000 per year) from 2018 under plans to make England “self-sufficient” in training doctors. In Scotland, medical schools are rejecting qualified applicants because of their own caps.

On Sunday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he would take a “fresh look” at the cap on the number of foreign doctors allowed into the country – in the same week that a medical tribunal ruled that India-qualified gynaecologist Dr. Vishnavy Vilvanathan Laxman was responsible for the death of a baby boy she decapitated during an attempted delivery whilst he was still partially in the womb. The tribunal ruled Tuesday that Dr.Vilvanathan Laxman can return to work.

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