Voters believe Labour is the party most likely to give the NHS the money it needs over the next five years, even though the Conservatives have promised more cash for the service in the next Parliament.

  • HSJ/FTI consulting poll finds key campaign messages have not affected voters’ perceptions
  • Labour preferred across a range of issues despite Tory and Lib Dem funding pledges
  • However, Labour’s ratings on the NHS have declined since previous poll

The finding comes from the final instalment of HSJ and FTI Consulting’s pre-election opinion polling and is one of several results that suggest high profile campaign messages on the NHS have made little difference to how the main parties are perceived by voters.

FTI HSJ poll graph

In a poll conducted on 23-24 April, we asked a representative sample of 2,000 voters which of the main parties they believed would give the NHS the most money over the next Parliament, and which they trusted to give the NHS the funding it needs to safeguard its future.

The poll found that on both measures around 40 per cent of voters believed Labour would give the NHS most extra money, compared with 29 per cent for the Conservatives.

This is despite the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats pledging a funding rise for the service worth at least £8bn a year above inflation by 2020, in line with the funding requirements outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View. Labour has promised £2.5bn extra over the next two years, but has not matched the £8bn commitment. However, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has said he would not rule out funding increases above the promised £2.5bn.


The percentage of voters who believe Labour would provide the greatest NHS funding increase is roughly in line with proportion who prefer Labour across a range of indicators, such as which party best understands the NHS, and which would best prepare the service for the future. It suggests voters have made up their minds about which party they trust with the service, and have either not heard campaign pledges on NHS finance, or do not believe them.

Despite much of the health policy debate in the election campaign being focused on funding, the poll found that 18 per cent of voters were unaware of the structural and financial challenges facing the NHS – a figure that has not changed since the first survey in June.

While we found that Labour retains a clear lead on health policy, its ratings on the NHS have declined across a range of measures by up to 4 percentage points. However, these have not translated into gains for the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats.


Exclusive poll: Tory cash pledge fails to cut through