At PMQs on 20th May, after being questioned by Keir Starmer, the Prime Minister was adamant that he would not scrap the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
He said that the IHS “contributions actually help us to raise about £900 million”.
Having heard these figures, I quickly commissioned research from the House of Commons Library which debunked the Prime Minister’s numbers. We found that the £900 million he cited was the amount of money brought in over 4 years from those who are here in all occupations, not just the NHS.
It was remiss of the Prime Minister to use such figures in the House of Commons to defend this unfair policy. According to our findings, the cost of abolishing the IHS for all NHS and care workers was considerably lower at around £35 million. You can read the full response I received from the House of Commons Library here.
The Government subsequently u-turned and backed our proposal to remove the NHS charge for health professionals and care workers. NHS staff and care workers from overseas will now no longer have to pay an extra charge towards the health service.
Every Thursday we stand on our doorsteps and clap for our carers and healthcare workers – every single one of them putting themselves at risk to care for us.
Some of these essential workers come from overseas and, as a result, are made to pay a fee to use the NHS they work in. The Tories are increasing this fee from £400 to £624 in October this year.
This would take a care worker being paid the National Living Wage more than 70 hours to repay. When NHS workers give so much to the NHS, they shouldn’t have to pay at all.
I am glad we managed to pressure the Government to change course. This is a victory for common decency and the right thing to do. We cannot clap our carers one day and then charge them to use our NHS the next.