All 1 Lucy Allan contributions to the Health and Social Care Levy Act 2021

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Wed 8th Sep 2021
Health and Social Care Levy
Commons Chamber

1st reading & 1st readingWays and Means Resolution ()

Health and Social Care Levy Debate

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Department: HM Treasury

Health and Social Care Levy

Lucy Allan Excerpts
1st reading
Wednesday 8th September 2021

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Lucy Allan Portrait Lucy Allan (Telford) (Con)
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I thank the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care for bringing forward this proposal. It is a bold decision—a difficult decision—but it is the right decision at the right time.

Initially, I really struggled with this concept. When the Prime Minister stood up to deliver his statement yesterday, I did not expect to feel able to support it, but by the time he sat down, I could. That is not just because the PM has excellent rhetorical skills; it is down to the simple and obvious fact that most people want better health and care provision. Most people understand the challenges created by covid and the devastating impact on the NHS. Most people want to see money spent on the NHS, and they expect everybody to make a contribution—and so they should. Covid has brutally exposed what a fragile and struggling health and social care system we have, and yes, the enormous backlog of cases that has arisen must be tackled. Therefore, of course more cash is needed.

I fundamentally believe in incentivising and rewarding hard work, in allowing people to keep more of the money they earn, and that people know better than the state how to spend their own money. A low-tax economy is a buoyant economy, and I hope that when this is all over, we can revert to proper Conservative economic policy. Any MP would say that healthcare features uppermost in their inbox. The struggles to access a GP, the waiting lists, the cancelled operations, the waiting times in A&E and the quality of care are all raised with us day in, day out, and they have very human consequences.

It may be that this is more of an issue in Telford than elsewhere. We have a particularly challenged hospital trust and clinical commissioning group, and some very serious problems have arisen during my time as MP. The trust is now in special measures, it is facing a police investigation into maternity deaths, and there has been a constant revolving door of highly paid senior managers who do not seem to be able to grasp some of the challenges. We have a GP super-surgery with 60,000 patients that has long operated telephone triage. Even pre-covid, people could not get the phone answered, so they have no option but to go to A&E and face huge waits. It is fair to say that it is completely understandable that Telford residents will always put the NHS as their No. 1 concern. We have also had grand transformational schemes devised by hospital management to spend £600 million of Government money. They have had seven years of thinking about it, and they still have not been able to put a shovel in the ground.

I have never been one to believe that throwing cash at a problem will provide a solution. We have a duty to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely, and that waste and bureaucracy are stripped out. We need to make clear that what we are approving today is no blank cheque and that we expect trusts, CCGs and their management to work to put patient care and the patient experience first. That has been lacking. I know that from my experience and my constituents’ experience. They are so often treated as a nuisance or with contempt. That must stop, and this money will help that to happen. I want my constituents to have far, far better patient care than they currently receive and I know they want to see extra cash spent. They will expect improvements, and I caution that this is not the time to be removing the A&E or other local services from Telford.

The motion before us today is a much-needed first step that I welcome fully. I congratulate my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Health Secretary for being bold, for being ambitious for our future and for being willing to embrace the big challenges that others have failed to seize. They have my full support, and I hope that all Members on the Government Benches will also be able to support our leaders.