Good morning, I was joined by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Health and Welfare because today we were defining our plan to help our NHS recover from the pandemic and better rebuild by fixing the health and social care problems that governments have avoided them for decades.
We all know someone whose test, scan, or hip replacement was delayed or who helped protect the NHS amid Covid’s great pressures by postponing treatment to a new medical condition.
And now, as people come out again, we have to pay for those missed surgeries and treatments; we have to pay good salaries for the 50,000 extra nurses we are recruiting, we have to go beyond the record funding we have already given to the NHS, and that means going beyond the 48 hospitals and 50 million other medical appointments.
So today, following the world’s most successful vaccine program, we launched the largest capture program in NHS history, increasing hospital capacity by 110 percent and enabling 9 million appointments, scans, and other operations.
I need to level with people that waiting lists will get worse before they get better, but compared to Covid money, by 2024/25 our plan will allow the NHS to aim to treat 30 percent more patients who have need elective care such as knee replacements or screening cancer.
A recovery at this rate cannot be secured from cheese collection budgets elsewhere and it would be irresponsible to cover a permanent increase in health and social care spending with higher daily borrowing.
For over 70 years, we have lived by the principle that everyone pays for the NHS through our taxes, so it is there for all of us when we need it.
In this spirit, from April we will have a new UK tax of 1.25 per cent on Health and Social Care on earned income, with the money required by law to go directly to health and social care across the UK our United, and with dividend rates rising by the same amount.
It will raise nearly $ 36 billion over the next three years, not just funding more care, but better care, including better screening equipment to diagnose cancer earlier and digital technologies that allow doctors to monitor patients in their homes.
The tax will share the cost as fairly as possible between people and businesses: because we all benefit from a well-supported NHS and all businesses benefit from a healthy workforce.
And those who earn more will pay more, including those who continue to work above the state retirement age.
The highest gain 14 percent of the population will pay about half of the raised income; no one earning less than 9,568 will pay a penny and most small businesses will be protected, with 40 percent paying nothing extra at all.
And this new investment will go hand in hand with vital reform because we have learned from the pandemic that we cannot regulate the NHS if we do not regulate social care as well.
When Covid struck, there were 30,000 hospital beds in England occupied by people who would have been better cared for elsewhere, and the inevitable consequence was that patients could not receive groin surgery or cancer treatment or any other help they needed.
And those people were often in the hospital because they were afraid of the costs of care in a residential home.
If you suffer from cancer or heart disease, the NHS will fully cover the cost of your treatment.
But if you develop Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, then you have to pay for everything above a very low threshold.
Today, 1 in 7 of us can expect to afford care costs that exceed 100,000 in our later years, and millions more live in fear that they may be among those 1 in 7.
Suppose you have a house worth 250,000 and you are in a care home for eight years, then after you have paid your bills, you can be left with only 14,000 after a life of work, effort and savings sacrificing everything else everything you would otherwise have pass it on to your children – simply to avoid the indignation of suffering.
So we are doing something that, frankly, should have been done a long time ago, and we share the risk of these catastrophic care costs, so everyone is relieved of the fear of financial ruin.
If we set a limit on what people will ever have to pay, regardless of wealth or income.
In England, from October 2023, no one starting care will pay more than 86,000 in their lifetime.
No one with assets less than 20,000 will have to pay anything, and anyone with assets between 20,000 and 100,000 will be entitled to asset-tested support.
Also take good care of the fears they have about how their parents or grandparents will care.
Invest well in quality care, and in caregivers themselves, with 500 million going to hundreds of thousands of new training locations, mental health support for carers and improved recruitment, ensuring that care is a well-respected profession in its own right .
And well integrate health and social care in England so that all seniors and people with disabilities are cared for with the dignity they deserve.
No Conservative Government wants to raise taxes, but neither can we in good conscience afford the cost of this plan simply by borrowing money and imposing the burden on future generations.
So I will be absolutely honest with you: this new tax will break our manifesto commitment, but a global pandemic was not even in our manifesto, and everyone knows in their bones that after all we have spent to protect people through that crisis, we can now avoid the challenge of setting the NHS on its feet, which requires fixing the social care problem and investing the necessary money.
So we will do what is right, reasonable and just, we will make up for Covid’s arrears, we will fund more nurses and, hopefully, we will remove the anxiety of millions of families up and down the earth by pushed forward long-delayed reforms
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