MPs back £12bn-a-year tax hike for NHS but warning of doctor and nurse shortages

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A £12bn-a-year tax increase to protect the NHS and social care has been backed by lawmakers, but ministers were warned they would have to “relax all immigration requirements” for the plan to become a reality.

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In a highly unusual move, the health and social care levy will clear all of its commons steps in a single day, even though the national insurance hike won’t start until next April.

Just 6 Conservative lawmakers opposed the law on its second reading, only one more than the first vote on a proposal last week – despite many vocal protests.


One Tory, John Barron, said he could not support a bill that would “cost the jobs” as well as lower wages and result in higher prices.

John Redwood, a former cabinet minister, warned of the tax hike: “It is too soon, government, to start breaking down the economy. Growth has almost disappeared over the past month.”

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And another Conservative backbencher, Craig McKinley, said: “My sadness is that we’re just reaching the tax lever. Conservatives don’t do that. We’re going to end up with tax takes at the highest level of GDP for 70 years.” are going.

Former Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt criticized Labor and the Liberal Democrats for refusing to roll back the tax hike – but warned that a “workforce plan” is also needed.

“If you put an additional £8bn into the NHS, but you don’t have an additional £8bn of doctors and nurses to do the additional treatment, the risk is that the money will fall to the ground without touching the sides,” he told ministers.

Pointing to experts warned that 4,000 more doctors and 18,000 more nurses would be needed, he said: “But we don’t have a workforce plan.

“I suspect, in the short term, we will have to relax all immigration requirements for doctors and nurses, which isn’t great for developing countries, but may be our only choice.”

Although the scheme is billed as ending the social care crisis, only £5.4bn of the £36bn to be raised over three years is for care – with the NHS grabbing £25bn and £6bn for governments. going near.

In addition, the Treasury acknowledged that £5.4bn is largely to “implement” new caps and floors and to ensure local councils pay more for care home providers.

Lifetime care payments will be capped to £86,000 from October 2023 to allow homeowners facing “catastrophic” care costs for conditions such as dementia to transfer their assets to their children.

Anyone with assets of less than £20,000 will not pay any social care costs – but, although there is a “floor” of £100,000, those with assets between £20,000 and that amount will be on a sliding scale. Will contribute.

The Liberal Democrats warned that October 2023 would cause a “huge cliff edge” for the care cap as people “avoid coming forward for care” before that date to avoid bills.

But Treasury Chief Secretary Steve Barkley said the levy would “provide additional funding to the NHS so that it can recover from the pandemic”.

He added: “In addition, our social care plan will create a dramatically expanded safety net for people in later life.”


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