On Wednesday night, Richard spoke in the debate and voted to support the Government's decision to increase funding for Health and Social Care but called for a focus on reform of the sector, together with a drive for efficiency and fiscal responsibility by all Government Departments ahead of the upcoming budget. The full speech can be watched here.
Speaking after the debate, Richard Fuller, MP for North East Bedfordshire, said:
I supported the government despite reservations about breaking a manifesto pledge from the last general election. The reasons I voted for this measure are as follow:
- The Covid pandemic and the Government's measures to protect the NHS, businesses and worker's jobs has produced a £400 billion black hole in the Country's finances. This cannot be wished away or ignored, it has to be dealt with.
- Successive Governments have ducked the difficult and growing issue of Social Care. It is long overdue for a Government to take action, and I welcome the fact that it is this Government that is taking steps to resolve the issue.
My vote should not be seen as a blank cheque for the Government however. To date we have promises but no guarantees of reform in the Health and Social Care sector. It is dispiriting for NHS Chiefs to immediately dismiss the increased funding as insufficient, whilst at the same time ignoring calls for even the most modest of reforms. The NHS, wonderful institution that it is in many ways, is not a religion and should not be treated as such. Reform and efficiency drives must be put in place to ensure that the increased funding is used effectively and where it will deliver the best possible results, not frittered on waste and inefficiencies.
Similarly, ahead of the upcoming budget, all Government Ministers must seek to deliver meaningful efficiencies in their own Departments. With tax rates at their highest levels for 60 years we have an obligation to the hard-working taxpayers of this Country to spend their money wisely, effectively and prudently.
Richard set out his views on the proposed increase to National Insurance to fund Social Care and the NHS here.