Mr Holden coming out to support the Government on its Health and Social Care Levy, to help end the NHS backlog and fix social care for good, has released this statement:
"I didn’t put myself forward as your MP to see taxes rise. Neither did I expect to spend the first 18 months as your MP under the shadow of a global pandemic.
I won’t support unfunded spending commitments and think it is incumbent on politicians who call for more money to be spent to tell us both exactly how much they’re planning to raise and where exactly it is coming from. That’s what the Government has done this week.
The pandemic has meant that the Government has needed to step in to support our NHS (with c. £50 billion more emergency spending) as well as jobs, local businesses through grants, furlough and other schemes. In total, this has meant around £400 billion in extra spending – roughly £6,000 a head for every person in the UK.
That money has had to be borrowed and we were only able to borrow it because the structural deficit (the difference between day-to-day spending and taxes) - which had been running at around £40 Billion a year up to 2010 - has slowly been eliminated over the last few years. The Corporation Tax rise from 19% to 26% announced earlier this year will be one of the main ways that, over the coming years, that the extra financing required to pay for the temporary support during the pandemic will be controlled.
This week the Government announced a decision that does two things further:
1.) It will provide additional funds over the next few years for our NHS to help cut waiting lists – which have risen very sharply because of the pandemic to 5,600,000 (and without doing something are predicted to hit 13,000,000 – or one in four UK adults waiting for treatment) at a difficult time following the impact of the pandemic on medical care.
2.) We will deliver on the manifesto commitment I was elected on to help limit the costs of adult social care – that can be crippling to many families as roughly one-in-seven people end up spending many years in social care - and also help to invest in the social care workforce. £500 million will be invested in the social care workforce from next year and from October 2023 we will raise the floor to £100,000 (from £23,000) when means testing comes in and cap personal social care costs at £86,000 (currently uncapped).
The Prime Minister has been clear in Parliament and I am to: to pay for the additional short-term support for the NHS to keep waiting lists down and then invest long term for social care we are breaking one manifesto commitment to deliver another – something necessary because of the impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on the economy and public finances. I am glad that the Prime Minister has not tried to shy away from this but has been straight with the British public.
To ensure waiting lists in the NHS do not rise to the 13 million predicted and to tackle social care, I've supported the Government this week in raising (from April): Dividend Tax by 1.25% and introduce a new Health and Social Care Levy on employees (including those over 66) and employers of 1.25% too.
This extra Health and Social Care Levy will raise c. £12 Billion a year more for our NHS and Social Care - this will mean roughly an extra £250 per adult going to Health and Social Care every year. This is in addition to the extra c. £50 billion one-off support the NHS has had during the pandemic.
To give you an idea of the impact this will have on taxpayers, this new Health and Social Care Levy will mean that:
1.) A very high earner, earning £150,000 a year will pay about £1,750 a year (£33.65/week) more
2.) Me, as your local MP, will pay £903 a year (£17.37/week) more
3.) The average full-time worker, earning £24,100 a year, will pay £180 a year (£3.46/week) more
4.) Someone working full time and earning the National Living Wage of £8.91/hour will pay £81 a year (£1.50/week) more
With waiting lists, due to Coronavirus, already at 5.6 million, I could not, in good conscience, not vote for extra resources for our NHS and just watch waiting lists rise and people suffer waiting longer and longer for operations.
However, I have made the point to ministers (including the Prime Minister) that I want to see senior NHS executives - some on twice the Prime Minister's salary - held accountable for getting waiting lists down and ensuring that taxpayers' money is spent properly. I will certainly be doing so via my work on the Public Accounts Committee.
The tax rise and social care plans are not perfect and I will push for further improvements over time but they are a huge step in the right direction. Insurance companies have also not entered this market until now because their costs would be 'uncapped' - however, with costs now capped at £86,000, it is hoped that insurance companies will now being to offer policies that cover this too.
For me, more resources for our NHS and starting to get to grips with the rising costs for families of Adult Social Care - another manifesto commitment - trumped the decision for me.
Thank you for reading my thoughts behind my vote this week."
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