John Glen is MP for Salisbury and Jeremy Lefroy is MP for Stafford
Over the last few weeks there has been some debate around a return to the ‘contributory principle’ for welfare. We believe this is a valuable idea: recovering the sense of ‘social insurance’ that originally formed the basis for government welfare provision. The first area in which this could take place would be the NHS.
The NHS is unique among public services given the scale of universal health provision. Healthcare costs have, in recent years, been rising well above the rate of inflation and this trend is expected to continue. Health spending as a proportion of GDP has doubled within a generation, and will be a continuing demand on the public purse. Achieving a stable funding solution for the NHS is vital. British people rightly value the ring-fencing of the NHS budget – which this government has protected in real terms.
However, it is difficult to have a mature public debate when the facts are not widely known or understood. We need to be fully transparent about the cost of delivering a high quality universal health service, provided for free at the point of delivery, and not duck the reality of the cost pressures which exist.