WEST Dorset MP Chris Loder has given his backing to the Prime Minister’s recent announcement of a health and social care levy, which will see National Insurance rates raised by 1.25%.
Mr Loder said it was “vital” to provide funding to support a better social care system following the coronavirus pandemic, but they must be certain that funding was going to the right place.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new 1.25% health and social care levy earlier this month with The Health and Social Care Levy Bill debated in the House of Commons a week later
This will raise national insurance rates by 1.25% until April 2023, after which point it will become a legislatively separate tax. This means that everyone will contribute whether they pay national insurance or not.
Mr Loder says he supports Dorset Council’s “excellent record caring for the people who need it in West Dorset, despite spiralling costs of adult social care”.
He believes that, if the public is being asked to pay a further 1.25% of their earnings to support this, the money is must go to the places where it is most effective, which he argues is with the local authorities.
Dorset Council currently spends £178 million – more than 50% of its budget – on social care.
Mr Loder commented: “I know that Dorset Council has always been financially prudent, but nonetheless the high age demographic in West Dorset and Dorset as a whole means that the council’s social care spending is ever increasing, regardless of how well they handle their money. It currently accounts for half of their budget.
“I am in favour of the health and social care levy to support councils like Dorset Council, but we must be absolutely certain that the funding is going to the right place.”
This year, Dorset Council had to raise council tax by 5% to meet the growing need for social care. That means, as it stands, residents in Dorset are effectively making two payments for health and social care.
Mr Loder said that if the levy’s funding goes to local authorities appropriately, the government can ensure people “are not overburdened”.
He added: “I am not instinctively a fan of raising taxes, but given the very difficult situation we are in – with a deficit of £350 billion after the pandemic – it is vital that we provide funding to sort out the NHS backlog, and support a better social care system but we need stronger and more fundamental reform going forward.”