Andy Burnham demands 10% death tax
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The Prime Minister is set to unveil a 1.25 percent rise in national insurance contributions today in order to raise funding to fix the broken social care system. The £10billion and £11billion per year expected to be raised will also help the NHS cope with the backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, with the plan breaking the Conservative Party’s 2019 election manifesto pledge not to raise the tax, Mr Johnson has been warned he risks public outrage at the ballot box.
Former Tory leaders William Hague and Sir Iain Duncan Smith have both raised the alarm about the proposals set to be unveiled in the Commons later today.
Lord Hague said breaking the promise made to the public would become a “defining moment” for Mr Johnson, warning voters may not trust future commitments made by the Tories.
“The political downsides of being seen to go back on such a promise are very great: loss of credibility when making future election commitments, a blurring of the distinction between Tory and Labour philosophies, a recruiting cry for fringe parties on the right, and an impression given to the world that the UK is heading for higher taxes still,” he wrote in The Times.
“That adds up to an extremely high price, and if I was still around in the cabinet I would be on the very reluctant end of the argument about funding social care through a tax rise seen as breaking an election promise.”
Sir Iain accused the plan of being a “sham” and said it would not fix the social care problems.
Meanwhile, Jake Berry, chair of the influential group of Northern Research Group of red wall Tory MPs, said the proposals were “inherently unfair”.
The Rossendale and Darwen MP argued against a tax that would hit all working Britons equally, rather than charging those on a higher salary a higher rate.
Mr Berry wrote in The Sun: “It is the opposite of this Government’s levelling up agenda. It’s levelling down.”
Despite the fears of Tory MPs, pollster James Johnson of JL Partners says a national insurance rise is one of the most popular ways of raising money to fund social care.
“A one percent national insurance rise to fund social care is backed by two to one, slightly higher support than a one percent rise in income tax,” he said.
“On the straightforward one percent rise, net support is higher among older people, with over-45s backing it by a margin of 40 points.
“But it’s popular with younger voters too. 18-44s back it by a margin of 17 points.
“60 percent of Tory voters also back a one percent rise.”
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However, in a warning to the Prime Minister, he said the current support for the tax could quickly diminish once the increase is introduced and starts hitting workers’ pay-packets.
He said: “The public change their minds fast, and if a tax rise is perceived as unfair, then support could unwind, fast.”
Mr Johnson this morning briefed his Cabinet on plans to reform health and care funding.
Multiple members of the Prime Minister’s top team are also understood to be nervous about the implications of the social care plan.
One is thought to be so angry at Mr Johnson’s intentions to scrap the manifesto pledge that they are even considering their position.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi yesterday admitted he was “not comfortable with breaking any manifesto promises”.
Over the weekend, Jacob Rees-Mogg wrote in the Sunday Express to publicly voice his concerns.
He warned when George Bush Sr broke his “ready my lips, no new taxes” pledge in 1988, he lost the next election.
Mr Ress-Mogg wrote: “Voters remembered these words after President Bush had forgotten them.”
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