Hemel Hempstead MP backs Government over controversial Social Care Levy
The new health and social care tax will be introduced across the UK to pay for reforms to the care sector and NHS funding in England
The MP for Hemel Hempstead, Sir Mike Penning, spoke in support of the Government in the debate on the Health and Social Care Levy yesterday (Thursday).
The new health and social care tax will be introduced across the UK to pay for reforms to the care sector and NHS funding in England.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it would raise £12bn a year, designed to tackle the health backlog caused by the Covid pandemic and to bolster social care.
The tax will begin as a 1.25 percentage point rise in National Insurance from April 2022, paid by both employers and workers, and will then become a separate tax on earned income from 2023 - calculated in the same way as National Insurance and appearing on an employee's payslip.
This will be paid by all working adults, including older workers, and the government says it will be "legally ring-fenced" to go only towards health and social care costs.
Sir Mike told MPs that the problem of funding for social care had been kicked down to the road for far too long and, whilst not perfect, this new levy is the best available solution to tackle the problem.
The levy will also provide funding to enable the NHS to tackle the backlog of appointments and operations that has built up as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking afterwards, Sir Mike said: “I am concerned 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 is if it had never happened.
“Every day I get letters from constituents worried about missed hospital and doctor appointments, it is absolutely the right thing to do to take action to deal with this.
“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.
“It is not perfect by any means, but it is the right thing to do, and I think most reasonable people recognise that.”