I share your admiration for the frontline workers who are making immense sacrifices during this pandemic to help those affected by coronavirus.
I welcomed the Government's decision to follow the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission and increase the NLW by 6.6 percent from £8.91 to £9.50. This increase will be effective from April 2022 and covers 23 and 24 year olds, having been extended to this age group in April 2021.
The NLW rates are different from the Living Wage which is a voluntary minimum rate of pay endorsed by the Living Wage Foundation. I would like to add that I support work of the Living Wage Foundation and would encourage employers to commit to paying the Living Wage rates where they can.
I am proud to support a Government that is committed to taking the difficult decisions and tackling these problems head on, creating a sustainable adult care system that is fit for the future.
An extra £36 billion will be invested in the health and care system over the next three years, including £5.4 billion in adult social care, to ensure it has the resources it needs to recover from the pandemic. In order to fund such a significant increase in permanent spending, the Government has had to make the tough but responsible choice to increase taxes. A new 1.25 percentage point increase dedicated Health and Social Care Levy, based on National Insurance Contributions, is therefore being introduced.
Money alone will not fix the problem and reform is needed to encourage high standards across the whole country. It is vital for us to consider ways of better joining up health and care services, and I am encouraged by the use of the Better Care Fund to assist local government and the NHS with the implementation of integrated health and care services. I strongly welcome the legislative proposals for the Health and Care Bill which will provide for a truly integrated health and care system.
Although I agree that care workers should be paid for the time they spend traveling between jobs, this principle is already enshrined in law.