Difficult decisions needed to tackle big issues
- Credit: Simon Jupp
The Prime Minister has outlined plans to repair the damage the pandemic has caused to our healthcare system.
Firstly, by tackling NHS backlogs so people no longer face excessive waits for treatment. And secondly, by properly funding adult social care so people do not have to sell their own home to pay for it.
These issues really matter in East Devon, as my postbag makes exceptionally clear. It is no secret we have an ageing population. One in twelve are over 80. Even if you are young and think social care does not matter to you personally, many of us have family relatives at the sharp end of needing care and support.
The difficulty is how to responsibly fund essential spending without reckless borrowing that future generations will have to pay off.
In Parliament, it was particularly difficult to suspend the pensions triple lock for a year. Many well-argued letters in my postbag said the triple lock rightly rewards people who’ve paid into the system all their lives.
The triple lock is based on whichever is highest of inflation, earnings, or 2.5%. As a result of the impact of the furlough scheme on wage growth, the increase would have been warped significantly and over 8%.
I raised concerns with the Secretary of State after rumours circulated that the triple lock could be permanently scrapped. The government listened and decided to raise the state pension next year by the higher of either inflation or 2.5%, protecting pensioners against the rising cost of living.
Whilst this latest decision has been viewed as breaking a manifesto pledge, it is fair to say that no political leader – whether it Johnson, Corbyn, Sturgeon or Swinson – had a pandemic in their manifesto. It is right, however, that the move to a double lock is temporary and only for one year. We will return to the triple lock from next year.
In more positive news, Covid-19 booster jabs have been given the green light so please come forward if you are offered one! Thank you to all those involved in the roll out locally.