Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it will raise £12bn a year which will be used to tackle the health backlog caused by the Covid pandemic and boost social care, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk
The House of Commons will vote later on whether to raise National Insurance to fund health and social care, a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the manifesto-breaking historic reform plans.
Johnson said it will raise £12bn a year which will be used to tackle the health backlog caused by the Covid pandemic and boost social care, the BBC reported.
He described the plan, which includes capping care costs in England at £86,000, as “reasonable and fair”.
From April 2022, the government will introduce a new, nation-wide 1.25 per cent Health and Social Care Levy, ringfenced for health and social care. This will be based on National Insurance contributions (NICs) and from 2023 will be legislatively separate, the government has announced.
To ensure everyone contributes fairly, all working adults, including those over the state pension age, will pay the levy and the rates of dividend tax will also increase by 1.25% to help fund this package.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the plan is a “sticking plaster”, while leaders in social care have warned the plan will not address current problems, BBC reported.
The government is investing £36 billion will be invested in the health and care system over the next three years, to ensure the long term resource.
Speaking in the House, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said: “You can’t fix the Covid backlogs without giving the NHS the money it needs. You can’t fix the NHS without fixing social care, you can’t fix social care without removing the fear of losing everything to pay for it, and you can’t fix health and social care without long-term reform. The plan I am setting out today will fix all of these problems together.”
The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on the NHS. The number of patients waiting for elective surgery and routine treatment in England is now at a record high of 5.5 million. According to the government, this could reach 13 million by the end of the year if left unchecked.
Before the pandemic, nine out of ten were waiting fewer than 25 weeks in England. This has now risen to 44 weeks, it said.
To fix this, the NHS needs to be able to offer more appointments, operations, and treatments. Rather than simply plugging the gaps, new, innovative practices must be pushed forward so patients continue to receive the best possible care, it added.
The new funding is expected to fund an extra 9 million checks, scans, and operations. The NHS long term plan committed to increasing activity year on year. In recognition of pressures from Covid, this will now increase to 110% of the planned activity levels by 2023/24.
“We’re tackling the NHS backlog and taking decisive action to fix our broken social care system,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said. “This significant £12bn-a-year long-term increase in public spending will improve people’s lives across the UK – but our health and social care systems cannot be rebuilt without difficult decisions.”
“The new Health and Social Care Levy is the necessary and responsible thing to do to protect the NHS, sharing the cost between businesses and individuals and ensuring those earning more pay more,” he added.
Meanwhile, Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “Our nurses, doctors and care workers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic in our hour of need. But the pandemic has taken its toll – waiting times are longer than ever before and social care is under even greater pressure.”
He added: “This additional funding is a critical investment in our country’s future – it will give the NHS the extra capacity it needs to get back on its feet and is a vital first step in the reform of our broken care system.”