It is incumbent on all in positions of authority to reduce the burden on hard-working people.
Last week the House of Commons voted in favour of Government legislation to repeal the Health & Social Care Levy.
This is a welcome step in the right direction, indeed I did not support the introduction of this Levy last year.
Now, Government is delivering on its commitment to put £330 more back into the pockets of working people, crucially without compromising the record funding of £39 billion for our NHS and social care system.
The increase to National Insurance contributions from November is being reversed, and the Health & Social Care Levy coming in from April 2023 is being cancelled.
Overall, more than 27 million people will save an average of more than £330 in 2023-24.
As a result of the timing of the legislation, the average taxpayer will save £135 this year.
This will also provide a boost to businesses such as the Crawley firms I have met over recent days.
Nationally some 920,000 companies, around 60 per cent of businesses, will see an average tax cut of £9,600 in 2023-24.
When these changes are taken alongside the threshold changes made earlier this year, almost 30 million people will be better off by an average of more than £500 in 2023-24. Indeed, 20 million basic rate National Insurance contribution payers are to be better off by an average of £400.
Reversing the Levy of course does not affect the record investment of £39 billion in the NHS and social care: on slashing Covid backlogs, delivering better social care and improving our ambulance service.
Last month the Health & Social Care Secretary launched the Plan for Patients. This sets out the expectation for everyone who needs an appointment with their GP practice can get one in a timely manner, while ensuring patients with urgent needs are seen on the same day.
Government is also working to open up time for more than a million extra appointments over winter and also ensuring it is easier to contact GP practices by making an additional 31,000 telephone lines available.
Funding rules will be changed to assist in the recruitment of extra support staff such as GP assistants and advanced nurse practitioners, enabling GPs to focus on treating patients and freeing up appointments.
Further plans in this area include permitting pharmacies to take referrals from emergency care for illnesses such as coughs, headaches and sore throats, which will go towards ensuring greater resources can be used in emergency care departments thereby helping to reduce waiting times.
Ensuring this support gets to where it is needed is a cause I will continue to promote in Parliament.
Henry Smith MP