Mixed reactions to PM's announcement over 1.25% hike to National Insurance to 'fix social care'

Boris Johnson has set out his plans to fund reforms to the social care system by announcing an increase to National Insurance payments .

The 1.25% increase will see that only those with assets over £100,000 will be expected to fully fund their own care, and people with assets below £20,000 will have their care costs covered entirely by the government.

The government said the National Insurance increase will mean people on a salary of £24,000 will pay an additional £180 per year.

The plan is expected to raise £36 billion over the next three years, with the majority going to fund the NHS to help reduce the treatment backlog - £5.3 billion a year will go to social care.

Prime Minister Johnson chaired Cabinet on Tuesday morning to discuss his plans before revealing them to the public.

The proposed tax will take effect in April next year, if they are approved by Parliament as is widely expected, while adjustments on contributions to care will come in October 23.

In response to rocketing demand on the NHS locally work began today to lay the foundations of a new £24 million pound emergency care department at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Designed to bring services under one roof, the money for this project was secured several years ago - since then patient numbers have risen from 70,000 to 100,000 a year. And while it is hoped this and future funding will provide better care - those at the sharp end say support for the NHS and social care must go hand-in-hand.

Dr Katherine Lendrum, Emergency Medicine Consultant, said: "We need from a hospital point of view we need the support of social care, they do an amazing job but they need extra resources to be able to provide the care that we pass on to them from the hospital, so absolutely I think the whole system needs more funding."

Angie Smith, Chief Executive, said that because of numbers of backlogs of patients it will take a 'long time to recover.'

Staffing is one of the many crises facing the social care sector. Those working within it said today their calls for better funding had been ignored and once again within the care system, they were the poor relation.

Mike Pagham, from Independent Care Group, said:"I'm disappointed yet again that the amount of money going towards the social care sector is dwarfed by the amount of money going towards the NHS because I thought this was the spotlight for social care so I'm disappointed but the campaign continues to get social care to the top of the political agenda in this country."

But for patients like Bally Sandhu, who's from Leeds and who has been waiting for a kidney transplant for three years, funding to help clear the NHS backlog created by the pandemic could be a lifeline.

Bally Sandhu

Mr Sandhu's son Harvin said: "It's really great to hear, it gives a lot more funding for resources within the NHS and gives them the ability to get more manpower as well especially for people who dialysis in hospitals as well which is an expensive treatment so that's really helpful to them as well."

Among Labour MPs from our region though, criticism over both how the money will be raised and how it will be spent.

Paul Bloomfield MP, Lab Sheffield Central said there was 'no vision, no detail and no real sense of understanding the complex web of issues which create the social care crisis."