On Tuesday the House of Commons held this debate on the subject of Health and Social Care and tragically only one of the Sussex MPs was involved in the questions. However Huw Merriman asked a question that was very clear and which the Prime Minister failed to consider. It is so disturbing that he is the Prime Minister but perhaps even more disturbing that the Health and Social Care subject is being managed by this Prime Minister. Let us hope in due course that other people will be able to reflect on this question as a way forward for our nation. At the beginning of the debate the reference to the National Insurance was spoken about by Boris Johnson
So from next April we will create a new UK-wide 1.25% health and social care levy on earned income, hypothecated in law to health and social care, with dividends rates increasing by the same amount. This will raise almost £36 billion over the next three years, with money from the levy going directly to health and social care across the whole of our United Kingdom.
Of course that is very interesting as clearly a 10.4% increase in National Insurance will be very noticeable from next April for people who work on low incomes. Clearly people on high incomes or whose finance comes from other sources will only be affected modestly or not at all. It is also very clear that the promise of £18.2 billion a year from our departure from the European Union has apparently disappeared or perhaps was not a genuine offer. So here is the question from Huw Merriman and the answer from Johnson.
Huw Merriman: May I ask the Prime Minister why he decided to reject other forms of insurance as a model? The Germans brought in an insurance model back in the 1980s, facing the same problems that we had, and it relies on the private insurance sector. The noble Lord Lilley from the other place has brought forward a Bill that would see the Government set up a state insurer. Those retired householders would then pay a premium, which would be fixed as a charge, and then that charge would only be paid upon the death of that individual. Do not those models do a little more to intergenerational fairness?
Boris Johnson: I thank my hon. Friend for his thoughtful question. We looked at all those models of course, Mr Speaker, as you can imagine. I think that the problem is that we need to go for an insurance system that works and has a genuine chance of being set up, and the only way of encouraging the financial services industry to come in and offer products, whether they are insurance or annuities or whatever, is to take away that risk of catastrophic cost. That is a very substantial risk for too many people and it means that the insurance market has not been able to develop. We believe that this is the best way forward for the country.
Let us hope that in due course, the Government or its future Governments will look more carefully at these alternatives which may well include working with the insurance models as well as ensuring that people who earn or benefit from substantial amounts of money are more fairly being connected with the need to support the NHS. Of course perhaps the European Union savings could be unpacked a bit as well?