Just over a week ago, battles were raging round the Cabinet table as the Chancellor and Prime Minister couldn’t agree how to pay for social care.

After a decade of inaction and promises that Government had a plan, nothing materialised. By Monday, the coin had been tossed, and the most regressive tax was announced; National Insurance, which will hit the young and low paid the hardest.

So much for ‘levelling up’.

This will double down on hard working men and women as they have to find another 1.25 per cent from their wage packet, at a time when the cost of living, housing, food and fuel, is shooting up, and Universal Credit is being slashed.

The irony of the Health and Social Care Levy is that it will not benefit anyone in the care system today nor bail out the 1.5 million people not in receipt of funded care.

Not a penny will go towards a pay rise for care staff, once clapped by the Prime Minister as they strived to protect frail and disabled people; they now have to pay the Levy.

This isn’t the answer. The Government have capped care contributions at £86,000.

Few have such savings, so people will still need to sell their homes to pay for care.

A decade ago, the Dilnot report proposed a cap of £35,000, so this is far worse.

But instead of investing in social care, the Levy will be spent on the NHS backlog, now at 5.6 million patients and rising, to a possible 13 million.

With Covid rates up, and us set for a difficult winter, no end is in sight.

Staff are exhausted. They worked in the most challenging, traumatic and emotional of circumstances, and many are leaving; they can’t take any more, having already done more than that is humanly possible.

Reports that York Hospital was 74 registered nurses short on a single day, highlights the scale of the problem.

The Government failed to plan and failed to train the NHS staff needed for the future. I will be raising this in Parliament this week.

It takes me back to the mid to late 1990s, when I worked in the NHS.

Nurses worked double shifts, doctors, sleep deprived, tried to make life and death decisions, and having started work early, it was well into the night before I got off the wards, with a night of on-call to follow.

But it is far worse now.

Back then we hadn’t had a pandemic. Primary care was holding its own and social care was better funded.

Every time we get a Tory Government we end up with the NHS imploding.

Cuts have consequence, and this last decade have left the NHS in such a fragile state.

Since coming to power, the Tories have ripped £8bn out of social care, and cash-strapped local authorities are struggling.

However, this is made worse in York, as the council has outsourced social care to the private care market.

During the pandemic, through painstaking research, I was able to highlight that the council bought care from a number of privately-run care homes in the city.

Since then, through another piece of research, I have also unveiled how the council failed to properly scrutinise domiciliary care companies, including IHL (Independent Home Living York).

This company has now been inspected by the regulator, the CQC (Care Quality Commission), who have deemed that it 'requires improvement'.

So as the Health and Social Care Levy Bill is rushed through Parliament in a single day, bypassing proper scrutiny, be assured that I will be speaking up for you.

I believe that funding for both Health and Social Care, integrated, should come out of progressive taxation, with those with the most paying the most, and a windfall tax on all those companies that made a profit out of Covid-19 Government contracts, to meet the need right now.

Further, before paying, I would want you to know what you were going to get.

I continue to argue for a public National Care Service, free at the point of need.

I fear that your hard-earned money may end up in the banks of private care providers.

We can never trust the Tories with our Health and Care service, and they have just shown us why.