Boris Johnson is pledging to cancel NHS hospital car parking fees for millions of patients, relatives and staff as he prepares to unveil the Tory election manifesto.
The pledge will be to introduce free parking for two million “blue badge” disabled drivers and passengers.
It will also benefit frequent outpatients, gravely ill patients, visitors to relatives for extended periods and staff on night shifts who cannot use public transport.
The plan will be funded with £78million a year pledge for English hospitals and £216million in capital funding for 19 hospitals to build multi-storey car parks.
Tory sources have said such a blanket decision would result in “fewer spaces” as car parks would fill up with additional vehicles, including those of local residents.
Mr Johnson is expected to say NHS hospitals will be made to provide free parking for “protected groups” after reaching the conclusions that hospitals had ignored guidance which demanded that “concessions, including free or reduced charges or caps, should be available for staff working unsociable shifts, blue badge holders and visitors of gravely ill relatives.”
The pledge is believed to be designed to take on Mr Corbyn on the issues of health and cost of living.