It has been clear for some time now that we need to look at how we fund our social care system to support those who need to use it both now and in the future. What was not clear was that we would be faced with a global pandemic which has had a profound impact on our health and social care systems and on our fiscal position as a country. Difficult decisions were always going to have to be made.
As we emerge from the pandemic, it is vital that we do all we can to protect the future of our NHS and address the longstanding problems in social care. A lot of time and consideration has been put into working out how this should best be done. If approved later today, the 1.25 per cent Health and Social Care Levy - which is based on National Insurance contributions - will come into effect at the start of the next financial year, in April 2022. Raising up to £36 billion over the next three years, the levy will share the cost between individuals and businesses, with everyone contributing according to their means.
In doing so, the levy will help raise the necessary funds to tackle the extensive backlog of elective surgery and routine treatment the NHS is currently facing. An extra nine million checks, scans and operations will be possible, and there will be an increase in NHS capacity to 110 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by 2023-24. While our local health providers are doing all they can to ease growing pressures, I know from my own constituency correspondence that too many are facing unacceptable waiting times for operations and procedures that are long overdue.
At the same time, the levy will also fund our new long-term solution for social care. Having cared for my mother in her last few months two years ago, I am all too aware of the faults and failings of the current social care system. Care costs are simply too unpredictable. The proposed cap of £86,000 over a lifetime - irrespective of age or income - follows closely the recommendations of the 2011 Dilnot Commission. The proposals mean that everyone can benefit from the security of knowing that, if they need personal care, they will not face completely unknown and unlimited costs.
No Government seeks election making manifesto promises that they intend to break. But as the Prime Minister said yesterday, no-one could have predicted that we would face a global pandemic with such profound consequences for the country. We have to be realistic about the challenges we now face, be open and honest about how best to tackle them and take action for the long-term good of those we represent.