Why I support the Health and Social Care Levy
I spoke in the debate in Parliament in support of the Health and Social Care Levy.
The Health and Social Care Levy will be introduced first in 2022/23 as a 1.25% increase on the current rates of National Insurance Contributions (NICs). In 2023/24 it will become a new separate tax of 1.25%, replacing the increase in NICs rates and will apply to working pensioners as well. NICs will then return to their previous level. The funds from the levy will be ringfenced to fund investment in health and social care.
I know this is controversial but the problem of funding for social care had been kicked down the road for far too long and, whilst not perfect, this new levy is the best available solution to tackle the problem.
I recognise that we are breaking a manifesto commitment here, but we do have to be realistic. Our manifesto was written before the pandemic, and everything has changed since then. It would be totally unacceptable for us to carry on behaving as if it had never happened.
The new National Insurance Contributions levy will initially enable the NHS to tackle the backlog that has built up as a result of Covid, but long-term it will provide a new, permanent way to pay for reforms to social care.
Every day I get letters from constituents worried about missed hospital and doctor appointments as a result of Covid, so it is absolutely the right thing to do to take action to deal with this.
So, it makes sense to set up this new charge to get the NHS moving again and then use it for social care.
I am a fiscal conservative, and it would be wrong for us to keep borrowing our way out of this. We have enough debt already with the money borrowed – quite rightly – to pay for the furlough scheme and other Covid support packages.
We can’t just pass it all on to future generations.
With this new levy in place, it will provide a level of social care support for all of us who may need it in the future.
This is not working people subsidising the elderly, it is setting up a new permanent solution to the social care crisis which will provide a safety net for us all when we need it.
It is not perfect by any means, but it is the right thing to do, and I think most reasonable people recognise that.