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Labour commits to one-to-one midwife care in health manifesto

The party also pledges to recruit 20,000 more nurses and increase nurse training places

One-to-one care from a midwife will be guaranteed to all women during childbirth, the Labour party has pledged in its health manifesto.

In the manifesto, launched on Saturday, the party said the guarantee to provide designated care throughout a woman’s labour will be made possible by a commitment to recruit 3,000 more midwives by 2020.

It will be paid for through a £2.5 billion Time to Care Fund drawn from a mansion tax on properties over £2 million, tackling tax avoidance and a new levy on tobacco firms.

Labour also reiterated commitments to recruit 20,000 more nurses, half of which will be newly trained.

A Conservative party spokesperson said it increased the number of midwives by more than 2,100 since 2010, adding: ‘Ed Miliband cannot afford his debt-funded promise if he crashes the economy like Labour did last time’.

The Conservatives have pledged to plug an annual £8 billion NHS funding gap by the end of the next parliament, in addition to a commitment made in last year’s autumn statement to provide an extra £2 billion annually for the health service.

Writing in the Guardian last week, chancellor George Osborne said: ‘We can make this commitment because we have got the track record and a plan to grow our economy.’

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats criticised the Conservatives for not detailing how the pledge will be fulfilled.

The Lib Dems said they are the only party to make an ‘honest commitment’ to bridge the £8 billion gap by maintaining an extra £1.7 billion commitment for 2015/16; investing a further £1 billion in real terms in 2016/17, by restricting reliefs on capital gains tax and scrapping the Conservatives’ shares for rights scheme, and by increasing health spending in line with growth in the economy from 2017/18 onwards.

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