Tories’ NI tax bill on pensioners branded ‘political suicide’ at next election
Boris Johnson ‘shakes his head’ during Keir Starmer’s speech
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MPs have voted through the social care tax bill with a majority of 319 to 248, officially breaking their manifesto pledge not to raise taxes. Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said: “We will do all this in a way that is right and reasonable and fair.”
But criticism has been fired at the Prime Minister from all corners of the political spectrum following the move.
Leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer argued the Government should be introducing a wealth tax instead of increasing the amount ordinary people have to give away each month.
Sir Keir argued: “We do need to ask those with the broadest shoulders to pay more, and that does include asking much more of wealthier people.”
He added: “Instead, the Government is placing the primary burden on working people and businesses struggling to get by.”
Pensioners who voted for Mr Johnson in 2019 feel betrayed by his decision to continue their tax contributions when most have paid it their whole lives, according to an Express.co.uk poll.
When asked whether pensioners should be forced to pay National Insurance to fund social care costs, a huge 87 percent of voters said no in a poll of 13,739 people held from 5pm September 6 to 3pm September 9.
One Express reader wrote: “I’m 74, I paid my tax dues for the 50 years I worked in full-time employment. Isn’t that enough?”
Another declared: “This really is a no brainer. The elderly have already paid their contributions, to expect them to pay in their retirement… is a colossal slap in the face. It’s almost as though the Conservatives have signed a joint suicide pact because these people will never vote for them ever again. How could they, when they see their already pitiful pensions being raided by the government.”
Some have argued, however, that this tax is a direct result of Covid that everyone earning an income must pay for equally.
But the increase in National Insurance tax is only due to fund Covid recovery for the next three years, after that, it is due to fund social care reform that has been needed for over a decade.
Former Government minister Jake Berry, who chairs the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, voiced fears the National Insurance rise is not for social care “reform” but is instead a way for the Conservatives to introduce a tax for using NHS services.
He said: “I’m very concerned that this tax is not really a health and social care tax but it’s actually a Trojan horse for an NHS tax.”
Express.co.uk also asked readers if Mr Johnson’s decision to cap social care costs for individuals at £86,000 was a good idea.
The majority of voters, 55 percent, said that social care costs should be completely free in the UK.
Currently, only those who do not have assets worth more than £23,250 are given social care free of charge.
A significant portion of the vote, 23 percent, said social care costs should be capped, but at less than £60,000, another 14 percent voted to cap the cost between £60,000 to £80,000, whilst 8 percent said the cost should not be capped at all.
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Referring to the Conservative manifesto promise “nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it”, Sir Keir pushed Mr Johnson on whether he “still stands by his guarantee”.
Sir Keir asked how someone with assets of £186,000 (including the value of their home), for example, could pay care costs of £86,000 without selling their home.
The Prime Minister did not answer his questions directly but said his plan would deal with “the catastrophic costs faced by millions of people”.
One Express reader said: “The NHS is, or should be, funded from general taxation, while social security was supposed to be charged to National Insurance contributions.
“Why should I or any of my generation, born in the 1940s, who have paid taxes from 1956, pay yet more?”
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