A TAX rise to fund health and social care has been branded “reasonable” by a Royal Borough health chief – but believes the reforms don’t go far enough.

A majority of MPs voted in favour of a 1.25 per cent increase in National Insurance, which is said to be designed to tackle the health backlog caused by the pandemic as well as strengthen social care.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it would raise £12b a year to help increase hospital capacity and will come into effect from April 2022, paid by both employers and workers.

However, critics of the plan have said the funds are “nowhere near enough” and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was a “sticking plaster”.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Ministers Questions in the House of Commons, London. (PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. (PA)


Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the Royal Borough’s health lead, Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con: Boyn Hill), said he was pleased to see the government “taking the bull by the horns” in tackling the social care crisis and thinks the increase is “reasonable”.

However, he believed the reform didn’t go far enough to tackle some of the historic issues surrounding social care.

Cllr Carroll had concerns of “a lack of broader reforming vision” around prevention, independence, and communities, such as greater use of personal care budgets, integration of care, as well as no mention of improved support for unpaid carers.

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He also criticised the proposal for not being “bigger” and “bolder” to what kind of social care system the government is seeking to progress and feared the lack of detail of transitional changes for individuals could potentially lead to confusion.

However, the health lead also spoke of concern there will be no additional funding for councils to deal with the “overwhelming workforce” pressures and demand.

As the council is also an employer, it will have to contribute to the hiked National Insurance where Cllr Carroll said it could leave an estimated £500,000 pressure on its budget, leaving a “significant negative impact” to the local authority.

Cllr Carroll said: “That is a big, big financial challenge to have to take on and also our social workforce domiciliary care and care homes will also to be required to pay more, not reimbursed by government and that will have to get picked up directly.”

He added: “There are issues that have to be worked through because you could end up financially crippling a local authority having to pay that tax and they are the current implementers, delivers, and commissioners of adult social care.”

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Labour has argued the increase in National Insurance would be “unfair” to working-class people and offered an alternative by introducing a wealth tax. Other critics have urged for corporation tax to increase.

Cllr Carroll understood the “rationale” behind these alternatives – but believed these two proposals are not the solution where it would add further pressure to businesses, damaging the economy along the way.

He said: “I think it’s dangerous if we start going down the line of trying to ramp up corporation tax or creating wealth taxes because we have seen countries with very high levels of corporation tax, or these wealth taxes don’t perform economically as well as other countries.

“We’re in a very serious global pandemic, which has had a gargantuan and unprecedented economic implication and at just at the time where the economy needs injections, stimulus, and support.

“I don’t think we should be making it harder for businesses to be profitable, sustainable, and deliverable from their point of view.”