Politically Speaking - Social Care / HS2

Last week, a cross-party group of MPs proposed a plan for the long-term funding of health and social care.

I welcome this. I have been calling for this approach for five years so it good to see respected Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs come together to advocate it.

In September 2016, for instance, I spoke in the House of Commons on the need for increased health and social care funding. I subsequently wrote in the Newsletter about how to do this through a ‘ringfenced’ fund based on National Insurance.

The group of MPs has set out 10 points.

The most significant are:

  • The NHS remains a universal tax funded service free at the point of need;
  • Even with improvements in technology and efficiencies, spending on health and publically funded social care will need to rise by substantially more than inflation over the next 20 years;
  • People will be more willing to contribute more for the NHS and social care through if they know that the additional funds are ring-fenced for health and social care and will not be diverted;
  • National Insurance should become National Health and  Care Insurance, funded through a progressive contribution system based on income, paying into a publically run Health and Care fund;
  • Contribution rates would be set every 5 years based on an independent assessment of resources needed.

We now have an opportunity to put health and social care funding on a sustainable basis.

The HS2 Bill Committee has started its detailed work on Phase 2A between Armitage and Crewe. Sir Bill Cash MP spoke on behalf of Stone constituents last week. I will be appearing before the committee on behalf of Stafford constituents in the coming weeks. The petition which I have submitted to the committee is available on my website at https://www.jeremylefroy.org.uk/campaigns/high-speed-2.
Work on the M6 smart motorway 4-lane running has started between Junctions 13 and 15. There will continue to be night closures this week and next. For details please see my Twitter account or the Highways England website. Beaconside will be closed at the Parkside Estate from early on Saturday 5th May until Tuesday 8th May as widening work begins. Whilst these works are vital, I am concerned about the disturbance and inconvenience they cause. I met with Highways England on Friday to urge them to put in place as much mitigation as possible on existing diversion routes and to discuss alternative routes which would have less effect on constituents.
On Sunday, I attended the Anzac Commemoration Service on Cannock Chase. The first was held 100 years ago. The large numbers present show how much we honour and respect the contribution made by New Zealanders and Australians – and citizens of so many other countries now part of the Commonwealth - to the cause of freedom in both world wars.