Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge attacks government over national insurance hike

Houses of Parliament in Westminster; Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Members of parliament have been debating the government's plans to reform health and social care. - Credit: PA

MPs have attacked the government's plans to fund reforms to health and social care through a 1.25 percentage points hike in national insurance.

Labour Party MP Dame Margaret Hodge, who represents Barking, rounded on Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a House of Commons debate today (September 7).

Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Barking

Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge asks that we shop local to help our high streets - Credit: Parliament UK

She said: "Let's set aside for a moment the prime minister's unrivalled record on reneging on his promises, today he has chosen what I consider to be the least progressive option to fix both our health and social care systems.

"It's unfair between generations. It's unfair between individuals and it's unfair between those who derive their income from assets or from work."

Dame Margaret accused Mr Johnson of ignoring a "raft of better alternatives", including raising income tax or dividend tax being equivalent to income tax and capital gains tax.

File photo dated 26/03/20 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street, London, joining

Boris Johnson clapped for carers but only gave NHS staff a 1 per cent pay rise - Credit: PA


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Mr Johnson replied that none of the measures Dame Margaret suggested raised sufficient funds to pay for the reforms.

He added: "People are very suspicious. They know this country has been through an enormous fiscal impact from the pandemic. They know that the government has put its arms around people and spent £407 billion. 

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"They would be very suspicious of a government that pretends it can get the NHS back on its feet without some kind of serious, responsible, fair fiscal effort and that's what we're doing."

The prime minister set out plans aimed at tackling Covid-19 backlogs, reform of adult social care and putting the health and social care system on a sustainable footing.

A total of £36 billion will be invested in the health and care system over the next three years.

From April 2022, the government will introduce a new, UK-wide increase of National Insurance by 1.25 percentage points - from 12pc to 13.25pc - ringfenced for health and social care.

All working adults, including those over the state pension age, will pay the levy and the rates of dividend tax will also increase to help fund the reforms.

The highest-earning 14pc of people will pay about half the revenues, according to the government. Employers will be asked to contribute to the costs as well.

This will raise about £12bn in extra funding per year to be invested in frontline health and social care across the UK over the next three years.

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