The extra money raised by imposing a new UK-wide 1.25% health and social care levy on earned income, which will hit the low paid most heavily as well as the NHS itself, is just a massive bailout for multinational companies providing social care.
In case anyone else wants to email their MP today (14th Sept 2021) about the Government’s shocking rush to push the Health and Social Care Levy Bill through all its stages in Parliament today (in ONE SINGLE DAY), this is what I’ve just sent mine:
Dear Craig Whittaker,
This is an urgent request that you, as my MP, speak out in the House of Commons today against the Government’s attempt to rush through the Health and Social Care Levy Bill in just one day today, only a week after announcing the policy.
The Hansard Society has published a highly critical statement, pointing out that,
“Parliament’s scrutiny of financial matters is generally poor, and the treatment of the new Health and Social Care Levy demonstrates many of the worst aspects of both the financial and legislative scrutiny processes: acting at speed with insufficient policy detail available for MPs to consider; important constitutional questions brushed aside; and broad powers delegated to Ministers with a lack of clarity about how they are to be used in future.”
It raised four crucial questions about scrutiny and accountability that need an answer:
1. Why is the government rushing the legislation through Parliament? It is not clear why there needs to be such a rush to legislate when important details about the policy implications are not yet clear.
2. How will Parliament scrutinise the way in which the revenue raised by the Levy is spent on health and social care?
3. What are the implications for the devolution settlement?
4. How will Ministers use the broad regulation-making power conferred in the Bill?
The Hansard Society statement adds
“MPs should be clear about the level of authority they are delegating to government Ministers, and be confident that they will not regret forgoing their ability to fully scrutinise future government decisions or the decisions of future governments of different political complexions.
“Given the significance of the regulation-making power sought in this Bill, MPs may wish to consider whether a higher degree of parliamentary scrutiny should apply to all uses of it, not just to regulations that limit, reduce, or remove an existing relief or exception to the Levy.”
The Parliament webpage says the Bill is now at the Report stage, which is a
“Chance for the whole House to discuss and amend the Bill”
Please use this opportunity to tell the Government more time is needed for a higher level of Parliamentary scrutiny to all uses of the Bill, and ask the four quesions identified by the Hansard Society, above.
It may interest you that at the 7 September 2021 meeting of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership Board, both local authority and NHS Trust members, including Owen Williams the CHFT Chief Exec, expressed concerns about the Bill and its costs to their organisations, as employers.