Wednesday 8 September 2021
This week Boris Johnson has set out a series of measures to provide the resources our NHS needs to catch up with the demands for treatment following the coronavirus pandemic, and also to provide a long-term funding plan for social care. A new health and social care levy commencing in April next year will raise an additional £12billion a year for the health service. This will enable NHS capacity to increase to 110% of planned activity levels by 2023/24, offering more appointments, treatments, and operations.
Currently, around one in seven people must pay over £100,000 for care, with bills falling indiscriminately on some of the sickest and most vulnerable. Thanks to the action announced this week, no one in England will now have to pay more than £86,000 in care costs over the course of their lifetime. This is equivalent to around three years in care. This reform of social care will end catastrophic costs for people across the country and include extra investment in the care sector to improve training and support. At the same time, the government will help those without savings by covering all care costs for anyone with assets under £20,000. Anyone with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 will be expected to contribute to the cost of their care but will also receive state support, which will be means-tested.
By introducing this cap in care costs, we can end the situation where many vulnerable people will lose most of the value of their home and the savings that they had worked all their lives for. If we all pay in our share through the health and social care levy, we can share the burden of those costs together, knowing that if we should need extensive care late in life, that there will be a limit on the total amount we will be asked to contribute. I support the measures that have been proposed by the Prime Minister and will vote for them in parliament. At last we will have a long-term plan for social care that will provide people with dignity in their final years and which respects the work people have put in throughout their lives to build up the assets they will leave behind.
Last Friday I met with the Environment Agency at the Mill Leese reservoir embankment at Saltwood. We were also joined by the landowner, Mrs Jane Clark of Saltwood Castle, Frank Boland the Chairman of Saltwood Parish Council, and local Kent County Councillor, Rory Love. I am very concerned about the Environment Agency’s proposal to remove all vegetation with the exception of mature trees, from the majority of the area of the embankment. This will have a large and detrimental impact on an important natural habitat that is also the home to eleven different species of bats. I have written to the Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment to see whether the government can intervene to review the proposals that have been put forward, which seem to be disproportionate to the perceived level of flood risk from a reservoir that holds little or no water for most of the year.