The health secretary has ruled out the prospect of a delay to the health and care levy despite MPs’ calls to scrap the National Insurance hike.
Sajid Javid last night (25 January) reiterated his support for the 1.25% tax increase which is due to come into force from April.
The levy, which was announced in November, is expected to raise £12bn for the health and social care sector, a significant portion of which will be used to tackle the elective backlog.
When asked by the Health and Social Care Committee if the funds were ‘under threat’, Mr Javid told MPs the funding that has been announced is ‘secured’.
He said: ‘It’s very important that we’ve got the long-term funding in place for the NHS and social care. Obviously, the levy is about that long-term funding and that’s why it was set out in the spending review.’
MPs call to scrap health and care levy
This comes despite a growing number of calls within parliament to delay or scrap the plan outright.
Senior Conservatives such as the former Brexit secretary, David Davis, urged the Prime Minister to cancel the April introduction ‘in the interest of working families and the growth of the economy’.
MP Robert Jenrick, who voted for the increase as former housing secretary, similarly called for a delay to help families who are struggling with the cost of living.
Meanwhile, Jacob Rees-Mogg is reported to have privately called for Boris Johnson to abandon the hike entirely.
Currently, the elective backlog – which the levy is, in part, intended to clear – stands at 5.8 million patients.
Analysis conducted by the Health Foundation last year showed the Government will have to spend £17bn if it intends to return hospital waiting times to 18 weeks during this Parliament.
Modelling by the Institute for Fiscal Studies last summer found that concerns that the NHS waiting list could reach and exceed 13 million people are ‘well within the realms of possibility’.