Suffolk MPs Jo Churchill, Matt Hancock and Tom Hunt defend decision to increase national insurance by 1.5 per cent
All of Suffolk's MPs have broken their vow not to increase national insurance, instead voting to put up the tax by 1.5 per cent.
The county's seven MPs, who are all Conservative, backed Boris Johnson's £12bn tax raid to overhaul health and social care in the landmark vote.
But Health minister Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, told Suffolk News that the 'decision to raise taxes was not taken lightly'.
"Colleagues at the Treasury viewed this measure as a difficult but necessary one. However, it will mean we can face the challenges facing health and social care in the UK following the coronavirus pandemic," she said.
"Health and social care is fundamental to all of us, no matter how old or what they earn," the Suffolk MP added.
"The announced plan and HSCL [health and social care levy] to fund it will put the NHS on a sustainable footing as it tackles the Covid backlog and recovers from the pandemic as well as delivering an affordable solution to social care."
The funding will be mostly used to tackle NHS backlogs from the pandemic, but from October 2023 it will pay for new caps on individual contributions to social care, which would eventually mean no individual would have to pay more than £86,000 over their lifetime.
With the rise, those on a salary of £20,000 will pay an extra £130 to the Government. Those on £30,000 will shell out another £255, on £40,000 another £380, and those on £50,000 and above will pay out at least £505 extra each year.
Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswich, said the fact the Government had spent £400bn on tackling the Coronavirus pandemic changed the landscape from when the manifesto was written in 2019, and that the Conservatives had also been elected on a pledge to reform social care.
"I don't like breaking manifesto commitments, but when we have a global pandemic we have to raise funds," he said.
Matt Hancock was greeted with jeers in the House of Commons on Tuesday, as he spoke in favour of the social care reform for the first time since quitting as health secretary.
The West Suffolk MP, who represents Newmarket, Haverhill and Mildenhall, told the chamber: "The reform of social care has been ducked for decades because successive governments have put it in the ‘too difficult’ box. So, can I congratulate the prime minister for delivering on our commitments and his commitment."
Last night in the Commons, despite speculation of a backbench revolt, only five Conservative MPs voted against the rise with their colleagues on the opposition benches. Some 37 Tory MPs, including backbenchers Tom Tugendhat, David Davies and Steve Baker, abstained.