Reform leader Tice says plans for fundamental NHS reforms are not privatisation

Reform UK leader Richard Tice has told supporters the party will plough £17 billion extra cash into the NHS while implementing fundamental reform, including introducing basic rate tax relief on private healthcare.

Mr Tice told delegates at the party’s spring conference “lefties” were wrong to brand his plans “the privatisation of the NHS”, saying the bedrock of the healthcare system needed to be the principle of services being free at the point of delivery.

Launching Reform’s “working draft” of the party’s Contract With The People, he said: “The truth is the NHS is in crisis.

“It’s not fit for purpose. We all know it. We all see and feel experiences that are not working.

“We have to be honest and say it needs fundamental, major reform.”

Mr Tice said the party’s proposed contract showed how billions of pounds can be diverted to healthcare from savings made on interest payments to city banks relating to quantitative easing, moving away from net zero targets and cutting waste in the public sector.

He told his audience at Doncaster Racecourse: “The last thing we need to do is to give billions more to the bungling, incompetent, wasteful, NHS bureaucrats.”

He proposed that frontline health and social care staff should have basic rate income tax relief, to help retention rates, and the independent healthcare sector should be used to procure millions of operations.

Mr Tice said: “We’re the only party with a serious ambition and a belief and passion that we can get, in two years if we make this a national endeavour, we can get waiting lists down to zero. That is the objective.”

He said tax system incentives relating to private health insurance should be used to for “easing pressure on the NHS, which benefits everybody”.

He added: “I know what the lefties will say: ‘Tice is privatising the NHS’. No I’m not, no we’re not. We’re protecting the NHS by taking pressure off it.”

Mr Tice told delegates he has rebranded the Conservative and Labour leaders “Sinking Sunak” and “Starmer-geddon”.

He said: “Our country is in a bad state. It’s sinking under Sunak, and Starmer-geddon will make it worse but, with this contract, together, all of us, we are ready to save Britain.”

Mr Tice was making his first speech of the day at the conference to launch the party contract.

He is due to make his leader’s speech on Saturday afternoon along with other party figures, including former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe.

Earlier, Reform’s candidate in Thursday’s Rochdale by-election, the former Labour MP Simon Danczuk, told delegates: “Our country is on a journey, but it’s going in the wrong direction.

“Nothing works. The Islamisation of our democracy. Mass immigration. Britain is being broken.”

He said: “In just three years we have become a significant force in British politics.

“In three years we’ve captured the public’s imagination and we’re a solution to the people’s despondency and disillusionment.”

Mr Danczuk used the opportunity to take a swipe at George Galloway, who is standing for his Workers’ Party of Britain in next week’s by-election.

He said: “We’re putting Rochdale first. George Galloway is putting Gaza first.”

And he added: “We’re on the cusp of achieving an historic result in Rochdale.”

Also standing in Rochdale are Azhar Ali, Labour; Mark Coleman, Independent; Iain Donaldson, Liberal Democrats; Paul Ellison, Conservative Party; Michael Howarth, Independent; William Howarth, Independent; Guy Otten, Green Party; Ravin Rodent Subortna, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party; and David Tully, Independent.