Redditch MP Rachel Maclean writes for the Standard.
I’M A low tax Conservative, so last week’s decision to raise National Insurance by 1.25 per cent was difficult for me, but this Government won’t duck the difficult decisions that need to be made.
The pandemic wasn’t in any political party’s manifesto in 2019. The Government has spent more than £400billion responding – unprecedented outside wartime– and so it all has to be paid for.
And billions of this funding has gone to the NHS. Although our NHS is already receiving record levels of funding, I think it was clear to everyone it was going to need more money as it continues to deal with Covid, tackle the backlog of operations and to get back to doing everything it was before the pandemic.
Covid isn’t going away. It will still be here this time next year, but thanks to the UK’s historic vaccination programme, we have the ability to live with this virus the best we can. The NHS will need extra funding to deal with this virus, and this money had to be raised somehow.
Many have made suggestions about other ways to raise the funding needed for the NHS and social care, but I scrutinised the analysis carefully and the fact is no other tax would have provided the sums required.
The opposition parties talk in vague terms about wealth taxes, which sounds great, we would all like the wealthiest to pay more.
As usual however, they are short on detail, and by any reckoning, under our plans, the wealthiest are already paying far more in taxes overall than under the last Labour government.
Our plan is also are fair on small business, with over 40 per cent of UK businesses exempt from this new levy.
The Health and Social Care Levy, was approved by MPs last week, will ensure we fund this in the fairest way possible.
Every individual will contribute according to their means, and will provide an extra £12billion a year for the NHS and social care.
It was important the Government grasped the nettle and tackled the social care issue which successive Governments have failed to reform.
My mum is living with dementia, and after navigating the social care system for many years now, I know the system is in need of desperate reform. This is why I made social care reform a central pledge in my re-election campaign, and so did the Government.
All of this had to be paid for. The last thing I wanted to happen is for taxes to be raised, but the Government had an incredibly difficult decision to make.
I hope in the future – over time – we will be able to cut taxes for my constituents.