Saturday, November 27

Nadhim Zahawi ‘is not comfortable’ with breaking the promises of the manifesto | Social care

A UK government minister has said he is “not comfortable breaking any promises in the manifesto” as the prime minister prepares to announce an increase in national insurance contributions to fund health and social care and limit an increase in state pensions.

Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccine deployment minister, defended plans to fund a social care review and address the NHS backlog, which has drawn criticism from conservative judges, former chancellors and so-called “red wall” parliamentarians.

Boris Johnson is widely expected to reveal later Tuesday plans to break two manifesto commitments: an increase in national insurance by 1.25% and break the triple lock on pensions, a commitment to increase the state pension each year online. with rising costs. of life, increasing the average salary, or 2.5%, whichever is higher.

Johnson is facing a growing rebellion from his MPs over the proposals, and a conservative leader told The Guardian that they were considering his position, questioning the point of serving a government that was not pursuing the party’s 2019 manifesto.

Speaking on Sky News, Zahawi said he “was not comfortable breaking the promises of the manifesto” but refused to be carried away by the details of the financing.

He also admitted that the NHS order book would “rise before it improves” despite an additional £ 5.4 billion cash injection announced overnight for the NHS over the next six months.

When asked if the reforms would work, Zahawi said: “At least you have to try really hard to make sure you fix the system.

“It would be presumptuous, and I think completely arrogant, to say ‘of course it will fix the problem.’ The right thing to do is to carry out reform and investment in social care; you must ensure that it is operational.

“But I am being respectful and cautious and I am not arrogant in saying ‘of course, yes, everything will be fixed in five minutes’ – it will not be, in terms of the NHS backlog.

“We will address it, we want to reduce it, but it will increase before it improves, but we are putting the resources, the money that we announced yesterday, the additional 5.4 billion pounds, taking the total additional support for this year alone for the NHS to 34 billion pounds. pounds sterling, the delay will somehow be fixed. “

On Tuesday, the prime minister will frame the tax increase, which could raise up to £ 10bn a year with a 1.25% increase in national insurance contributions (NIC) for employers and employees, as essential to combat the crisis. off the NHS waiting list.

In the long term, the funds will be used for social care costs once the patient reaches a cost cap, which is estimated to be around £ 80,000. Under the current system, anyone with assets of more than £ 23,350 finances their care in full, with about one in seven people paying more than £ 100,000.

After major disputes in the cabinet, plans were signed Monday night for the new NHS and social care funding package that Johnson will present to cabinet on Tuesday followed by a statement to parliament.

Sir Andrew Dilnot, who led a landmark commission on the provision of social care under David Cameron, and reported on his findings in 2011, said the proposed reforms had the potential to be “transformative.”

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today show: “I think there is a real chance that we will finally get there. This is something that has been necessary, the reform here has been necessary for at least 25 years and, therefore, if we get there, it would certainly be a day to celebrate ”.

When asked if he felt comfortable breaking the promises in the manifesto, Zahawi said he did not want to get ahead of the prime minister. “I don’t feel comfortable breaking the promises of the manifesto,” he added.

Before the announcement, the prime minister will warn MPs that the NHS is at a crisis point. “The NHS is the pride of our UK, but the pandemic has put enormous pressure on it. We can’t expect him to recover on his own, ”Johnson said in comments posted overnight.

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