LONDON- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his finance minister are fully committed to introducing the health and social care levy in April, his spokesman said on Friday, denying reports the government would delay or scrap the policy.
Under pressure over alleged COVID-19 lockdown-breaking parties at his Downing Street office and residence, Johnson has faced calls from some in his Conservative Party to either delay or scrap a move to raise some taxes to try to fix a health and social care funding crisis.
His spokesman said both Johnson and finance minister Rishi Sunak were "fully committed to introducing the health and social care levy in April".
"Of course we understand that people may not want to pay more in tax but .. We've set out the rationale for this and I think it's clear that one of the public's number one priorities is to the support the NHS (National Health Service)."
Johnson has pledged to tackle a backlog in Britain's health system, which has seen millions waiting months for treatment from the state-run NHS, after resources were refocused to deal with COVID-19 pandemic.
He has also promised to address Britain's creaking social care system, where costs are projected to double as the population ages over the next two decades.
(Reporting by William James, writing by Elizabeth Piper; editing by James Davey) ((email@example.com; 07979746994; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))