My contributions to the debate on the Health and Social Care Levy Bill

Sir John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I support my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron), although I will not press the matter to a Division either; I understand that the Government have a sense of urgency.

I think we need three debates, not one. First, we need a debate about how an extra £10 billion or £12 billion would make a big difference to waiting lists in the NHS; I would like to know the plan for that. Secondly, we need a debate about how we transition the money from health to social care and about what the social care plan looks like. Thirdly, we need an economic policy debate about whether we actually need to raise £12 billion in tax and, if so, whether this is the right tax to raise it with.

I urge the Government, in their own interest, to unpackage all that, at least in their own remarks, and understand that we need to see the cases for their propositions. If I go to a shop, I do not present it with some money and go away being told that in a month’s time I will get a brochure about what I might have bought; I expect to get the goods. Call me old-fashioned, but I would like to see what the goods will be. Would I like waiting lists down? You bet. Would I like people in my constituency to have access to better public social care? You bet, but I want to know that I will get that, and I want to know why the Government think that they need a tax.

Does my hon. Friend share my surprise that the Treasury can be precise in saying that it needs £12 billion from a new tax when it overstated the budget deficit by £90 billion last year, which shows that it does not have a clue about how much money will come in anyway?

Mr Marcus Fysh (Yeovil) (Con): My right hon. Friend makes a good point.

Yes, it would have been great to have had more detailed context of where we can get to in this economic recovery so that we could know where we were in terms of revenue before we make such momentous changes that affect the aspirations and potential of so many people within the economy. We also need to look at whether this measure will increase costs and cost pressures within the system that we are trying to help.

Sir John Redwood: I urge the Government to think again about the health plans. On the Treasury figures, this year the health budget in the public sector overall is £230 billion—£64 billion higher than the 2019-20 budget pre-pandemic. I understand that there were lots of one-off and special costs in setting up and dealing with procedures for tackling the pandemic, and I, like everybody else, am very grateful for the work that went in from health staff and experts. But that cost will drop away, so what happens to that money when it is no longer pre-empted by the special costs of the pandemic, and can it not be applied?

I hope the Government will listen to the Chairman of the Health Committee, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Jeremy Hunt), about the need for a manpower plan, because if we wish to clear the backlogs it is quite obvious that more nurses and doctors are going to have to carry out more treatments and procedures. Some of that will be possible through reallocation and improved working of the staff we already have, but a lot of it will require additional recruitment.

I am also very worried about the lack of a detailed social care plan, particularly for my own area of Wokingham. We have a large number of self-payers at the moment. How could I be sure that if we went for this levy scheme, which is still not properly detailed, sufficient money would come from it to a local authority like Wokingham, already under enormous pressure on its social care budget?

I am very suspicious of hypothecated levies. It is particularly dangerous to hypothecate a levy that is a tiny fraction of the budget one is trying to improve. That will give some people the misleading impression that the social care levy will pay for social care, whereas, on the numbers, the levy would be able to match under one fifth of the total public social care budget.

Pitted against the huge numbers for the NHS and wider public health budget, that is just over 4% of the total, so it is a very insignificant amount in relation to the huge sums we are already talking about for the health budgets. However, it is a big sum of money when it is broken down and becomes a tax burden on people on quite modest incomes and those struggling in self-employment or trying to get their little businesses going. The last thing they need, when we need rapid growth and a faster recovery, is a tax rise.

The economy does not need sandbagging with austerity economics; it needs promoting for faster growth. It is still below the levels of output before the pandemic hit. Up until this point, the Treasury has been magnificent in making an avalanche of money available to get us through a most difficult time. We have got away with it. It has been borrowed at very close to zero interest. In these unique circumstances, it was possible to take extraordinary monetary measures that one would not normally be able to rely on and would not want to, and I am very grateful that that was done.

I say to the Government: it is too soon to start braking the economy.

The growth rate almost disappeared in the last month. I am hoping it is going to look a bit better in the next month or two when we get more opening. But before the economy is completely opened up, and people have stabilised their businesses and repaired some of the balance sheet damage that the pandemic measures did, is not the right time to take money off them. We need more spending power, not less; more demand, not less.

If the Government back that, the revenues will come tumbling in to a much greater extent than if we put rates up. Do they not understand that they were £90 billion wrong last year because there was more recovery than expected? They are already £26 billion under this year because there was a fast recovery in the first few months. Do not kill the recovery and you will get the money.


  1. agricola
    September 15, 2021

    Here here to that. However I fear that the Treasury is not of the correct mind set for the creation of wealth which could produce the tax revenue they seek. Taking the tax before the wealth is created kills the process of creation or persuades the creators to conduct their business in a more sensible location.

    1. Lifelogic
      September 15, 2021

      Exactly. As does expensive energy, over regulation, over taxation, over expensive housing, restrictive employment laws, endless red tape, restrictive planning and much else pushed by this dire government.

    2. Peter
      September 15, 2021

      ‘I think we need three debates, not one. First, we need a debate about how an extra £10 billion or £12 billion would make a big difference to waiting lists in the NHS; I would like to know the plan for that. Secondly, we need a debate about how we transition the money from health to social care and about what the social care plan looks like. Thirdly, we need an economic policy debate about whether we actually need to raise £12 billion in tax and, if so, whether this is the right tax to raise it with.’

      I might be cynical, but I suspect your call for greater transparency will be countered with a claim this would be trying to micromanage the NHS and that this is best left to the so-called ‘professionals’.

      If NHS is above any criticism, as many politicians would like, it can be used as cover for all sorts of financial interventions.

      That said, I don’t think those that did all that clapping had in mind the well paid chief executives including the 42 newly created ones who are supposed to ensure 36billion is well spent.

    3. Margaret Brandreth-
      September 15, 2021

      There has never been a better time for growth and don’t we just need it. How does the government expect new business’s to grow and at that time be in a position to pay higher taxes if we don’t ease up a little. Whilst businesses grow an income has also to be paid . I understand that there a few short lived business ventures where the field is played and monies removed in the process, not strictly laundering , but near as damned, yet a few must not spoil it for everyone.

  2. alan jutson
    September 15, 2021

    A shame more Mp’s do not share your view.

    Thus they have now voted to raise tax ,but have absolutely no idea where or how it is going to be spent.

    What a bunch of Clowns.

    1. NickC
      September 15, 2021

      Indeed, Alan. When are MPs going to dispense with their habit of spraying our money around as though it were valueless? It soon will be! Like the apparently unending immigration flood, the flood of money has to stop sometime. Money should be used to provide state services – only where necessary or contracted – for UK citizens, and not used as bribes for such as HS2 or battery cars or windmills or CAGW zealots or foreigners. Just maybe we wouldn’t need the extra tax, and have tax reductions instead.

  3. Micky Taking
    September 15, 2021

    Climate change protesters have caused fresh disruption on the M25, blocking roundabouts and the motorway itself.
    Insulate Britain activists have caused delays at junctions 23 for South Mimms and 25 for Cheshunt, Herts; 10 for Wisley and eight for Reigate, Surrey; and 1a and 1b for Dartford, Kent. Surrey Police said it was in attendance and had made 25 arrests.
    Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng condemned the action and said it was putting lives at risk.
    In a tweet, he said: “These actions are not only highly disruptive to those going to work and transporting vital goods, but are putting lives at risk on a busy motorway. “Not to mention the resulting traffic delays will only add to vehicle emissions.”
    Surrey Police said it was overseeing a protest that was reported just after 08:00 BST on Wednesday and that there were a number of protesters from Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion at junctions eight and 10.
    ‘Overseeing’ now means standing around watching multiple idiots breaking multiple laws putting multiple innocent people at risk of multiple serious problems – health appointments, essential travel, job interviews, care tasks, education …
    Get Grip – Police Forces are now paper tigers.

  4. Micky Taking
    September 15, 2021

    Excellent speech, and points well made and kept concise.
    If only our half asleep, night wandering Cabinet woke up and slammed the desk against this shambles of a policy.

  5. Peter Wood
    September 15, 2021

    Good Morning,

    The PM believes the NHS needs more money to recover from the problems caused by Covid, but, it appears, nobody has done any calculations of how much money is needed and when.
    Money is needed for the Social Care of our elderly, but, it appears, nobody in governemnt has done any work on what’s needed and how much it costs, but Boris says he’ll just raise taxes and hope for the best.
    It appears nobody has told Boris that higher tax rates reduces the amount of money raised, when tax rates go above certain levels.
    Sir J. The PCP has become an incompetent, high tax and spend party. Your party will be voted out nest time.

  6. Iain Moore
    September 15, 2021

    Sorry off topic, but there has been a converter fire….

    //A fire has broken out at a key electricity converter station where power from two cables connecting France to the U.K. comes to shore. The large fire will take several hours to put out, according to Kent Fire and Rescue Service. Flows on the 2,000 megawatt IFA-1 cable halted just after midnight, according to National Grid Plc data.//

    When you run a system beyond capacity, fail to invest in the necessary supply, then stupidly load on the intermittent and variable green power supply, such things turn from being a nuisance with no consequences into a crisis.

    The converter fire is not an isolated example , but just one of many cases of the British establishment running our country beyond capacity and stretching the systems to breaking point.

  7. Kenneth
    September 15, 2021

    The social care budget is a black hole on the basis that the more the state does for individuals and families, the less they do for themselves.

    If we pour more money in, this will create MORE demand and the vicious circle will break us all.

    Remember this: most people are not marching demanding more social care.

    As always, this is coming from those with access to tv and radio transmitters and social media.

    If the “Conservatives” keep following a vocal minority and NOT the quiet and busy majority then they will be out of office for many years.

    1. Mike Wilson
      September 15, 2021

      If the “Conservatives” keep following a vocal minority and NOT the quiet and busy majority then they will be out of office for many years.

      Who will be in power instead? Surely Labour follow an even smaller vocal minority.

  8. SM
    September 15, 2021

    Good speech, the remark about going to shop and not getting the goods immediately made me hoot out loud.

    Will the Government take the slightest bit of notice of your common sense, though?

    1. Lifelogic
      September 15, 2021

      Indeed sensible points and of course they will not take any notice of his common sense.

      There is clearly no political will to tackle the NHS state monopoly, basket case, rationing system which has such poor outcomes in relative terms. But they might take on a few more £80K plus pension diversity officers. Perhaps lots more admin staff to tell people they are now “on the huge waiting lists but should not hold their breath”! What is needed is charging, tax cuts, tax breaks for those who go privately, real choice and some real and fair competition in healthcare.

  9. Sakara Gold
    September 15, 2021

    A very good speech indeed. I cannot understand why the government cannot find room for Sir John in the Treasury. Over the past ten years of Conservative government the national debt has more than doubled. With inflation now above 3% and rising, the payments on this will quickly become unsustainable. Sir John has a vision to begin paying it down. Sunak and Johnson should listen.

  10. DOM
    September 15, 2021

    Some were warning about the contemptible Johnson before he became Tory leader. Those warnings have proven justified. Indeed they understated the extreme nature of what this man is capable of

    He is without question the most extremist PM the UK has seen in modern times.

    1. NickC
      September 15, 2021

      Err, no, Dom. It depends what sort of extremism you have in mind. I would put Tony Blair at the top as a socialist/globalist extremist, trashing the fabric of our nation in so many ways. And Theresa May at the top as a constitution-destroying extremist. She is the only modern politician I have called a liar consequent on her cynical Chequers betrayal of both her own ministers and Leave voters.

  11. Lets Buy British
    September 15, 2021

    Good speech

    Austerity NO Cut out waste YES

    Cut the higher rate tax relief of 40% on personal pension contributions to the 20% that standard rate tax payers receive. 25% of those making personal pension contributions receive 75% of the tax relief handed out. These 25% are the higher rate tax payers. I believe this will save the Govt, apologies I meant ordinary tax payers, in the region of £8 – 10 billion. No need for tax rises.

    And an urgent review of the NHS is needed. It’s not a sacred cash cow. Further involvement of the private sector or insurance related schemes are not the answer. The NHS will never have enough cash, ever, the top brass at the NHS will deem it so. Just like the listing and misrepresentation of Covid related deaths on death certificates – perhaps to prove their worth and justify their demands. Remember we never had a diabetic epidemic until GPs were given £7.50 per case and then we were al. struck down by the illness.

  12. a-tracy
    September 15, 2021

    A good speech John. I can’t listen to the video speeches on my desktop (no speaker) so I appreciate the text version. They should have their spending plan for this new money ready and available for you today with an explanation of which pot is currently funding the gap. We were told on GB News last night by the TUC head that civil servants are much more productive working at home, can write better and faster reports in their homes without distraction of work colleagues, being also well rested from not having to commute. Just how many reports per week do these people write – are they all published – do they all get read? One other point she was concerned about the number of e-mails workers were getting each day sometimes from people sitting nearby. My response if a member of my staff said that they were overwhelmed with e-mails would be ‘let me see the e-mails’. I would check who was sending them and ask the reason they like to write to this person rather than just ask them for the action they wish them to take – perhaps, just perhaps it is because the person with so many e-mails is notorious for not getting on with verbal requests and people want to cover their backsides and pass the buck if delegated tasks aren’t done. Perhaps the department Managers should look into who is getting so many e-mails and the reasons why and investigate.

  13. Lester_Cynic
    September 15, 2021

    I’ve just signed up for a monthly donation to Reform UK

    There, the first steps to hopefully remove our dreadful government

    And I bet that this isn’t moderated!

    1. Micky Taking
      September 15, 2021

      It would take a lot more than that to cool my fevered brow over Johnson and the flock of sheep masquerading as a Cabinet. Perhaps a major chuck out today will focus a bit more attention on the job of Government, not what Carrie thinks is implemented.

  14. Nota#
    September 15, 2021

    Despair – ‘Reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic!’

  15. NickC
    September 15, 2021

    In a joint statement, Andy and Martin said:

    Leave literally promised, on the side of a bus, £20bn extra for RNHS. The literal fact that the extra is literally £64bn shows rich old Tory Leave voters to be literally liars.

    We just need to wait for the lorries to queue, the medicine shortages to begin, the jobs to go, the hard border to return and for British travellers to be affected by lockdowns and then Brexit is toast.

    You Brexitists are predominantly angry xenophobic rich pensioners. You’ve not yet figured out that many of you will not be around to stop our literally young generation (age 45 to 75 years) undoing Brexit.

    Martin is 94. And Andy is 24 (probably).

    1. Peter2
      September 15, 2021

      Literally excellent.
      Very funny.

    2. Micky Taking
      September 15, 2021

      I assumed from the tone of Andy’s regular grumpy old man bit that he must be the 94 year old, and Martin 24, the idealist waving the red banner and calling for weed picking in the fields, all the time quoting from obscure leftie, communist often megalomaniac mass murders? Just goes to show brother, I should tweak the curtains more often and take note of the shocking waste of property nearby occupied by massed numbers of the elite carried on the backs of the downtrodden Tesla drivers.

    3. MiC
      September 15, 2021

      What a wonderful day it is. Yes folks, what a wonderful day it is, for looking at all the Leave voters, queuing for hours, in the non-EU Citizens lanes at Continental airports, and saying “How about that for stand-up comedy?”

      1. a-tracy
        September 16, 2021

        You are getting a bit weird now Martin.

        1. Micky Taking
          September 16, 2021


      2. dixie
        September 16, 2021

        Why on earth would I ever want to go to the “continent” when so much more of the planet is so much more welcoming and interesting.

        1. MiC
          September 16, 2021

          Where do you fancy then?

          Africa? The Islamic world? Latin America? The gun-deranged, six-times-the-murder-rate-of-the-EU US? The ex-USSR? China? India?


          That pretty well leaves Aus, NZ, Canada, Japan and a couple of others then.

  16. Sayagain
    September 15, 2021

    Liz Truss as Foreign Secretary – she’s done such a super job at International trade? the whole thing is bonkers

  17. Everhopeful
    September 15, 2021

    But in all seriousness.
    Is the govt. going to start funnelling this new revenue into paying for hotel rooms @ £200 per night and new houses big enough to accommodate a family of twelve?
    Really…could they do that?

  18. Mike Wilson
    September 15, 2021

    Well said, Mr. Redwood. It is nice to know there is one sane MP.

    I’d love to know what they say about you, behind your back, in and around No. 10. You must be getting on a bit now – why not stir things up a bit and change to Reform?

  19. Lindsay McDougall
    September 16, 2021

    What will happen in practice is that the entire £12 billion will be spent in an unreformed NHS on health care; the Secretary of State will then ask for more money for social care. The NHS, a failed organisation, should not be given more power and responsibility but rather less. I like the fact that your colleague Sir Christopher Chope ranged widely over possible funding options including ‘co-payments’, which means simply that it is no bad thing if people make some payments towards their own health and social care.

    Doctors complain that they are overworked and I have some sympathy. They would help their cause if they were willing to lose a bit of control, allowing nurses a greater role and allowing pharmacies to have greater power. In the wealthy Gulf States in the Arabian peninsula – for example Bahrain and Dubai – there are a lot of measures that you can buy over the counter at a chemist, without prescription.

    A true story about a friend of mine: He was about 64 years old and had been working very hard – too hard – in Bahrain, and blacked out while driving. They patched him up in Bahrain but he was in no state to work, so he sold up in Bahrain and returned to England, where he came under the TLC of the NHS, including the inevitable specialist. Fairly soon, he was on 10 types of medication and feeling lousy, so he asked his GP if all these treatments were necessary. The GP reviewed them and reduced the number of treatments to four. After a while, my friend started feeling better and made enquiries as to whether he could buy the medicines over the counter in Bahrain. When the answer came back in the affirmative he determined to go back to Bahrain and resume working. Moral: don’t allow yourself to become a dependent basket case.

  20. Lindsay McDougall
    September 16, 2021

    2nd para: medicines not measures

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