Politics

National Insurance hike TO STAY – Boris and Rishi Sunak snub Tory MPs after tax row

National Insurance rise is 'robbery’ says Sir John Redwood

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The Prime Minister continues to face pressure from Tory MPs and the Opposition to ditch the 1.25 percent increase in national insurance – introduced at the start of April. There have been demands for the Government to scrap the hike to help families struggling with the cost of living crisis currently gripping Britain.

But the Queen’s Speech outlining Mr Johnson’s plan for the year ahead appeared to double down on his commitment to the rise, outlining its importance to tackle the Covid backlog in the NHS and the long term problems with social care.

Ministers would continue to “fund the National Health Service to reduce the Covid backlogs”, Prince Charles said as he delivered the Queen’s Speech on his mother’s behalf.

He added the Government’s actions would be “underpinned by a responsible approach to the public finances, reducing debt while reforming and cutting taxes”.

A change to the repayment rate was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Budget earlier this year.

But Tory MPs have urged ministers to scrap the national insurance hike altogether to help reduce bills for families across the country.

The Government has continued to ignore the demands, saying that removing the tax rise would require higher borrowing to help fund the NHS.

Mr Sunak has repeatedly refused to borrow money to clear the Covid backlog in the health service, saying it would be irresponsible.

The direct mention of NHS funding post-Covid in the Queen’s Speech is a clear indication Mr Johnson and his Cabinet have no intention of backing down on the tax hike despite MPs’ demands.

Last week, the Conservatives lost almost 500 council seats in the local elections as voters let their views be known on the Government’s record.

Tory backbenchers blamed tax rises as one of the key reasons for the losses.

In the aftermath, Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the national insurance rise should be scrapped to help win back the trust of voters.

“We now have one of the highest rates of tax that we’ve had for a generation – that cannot happen under a Conservative watch, so that tax rate has to come down,” Sir Iain told The i newspaper.

“To my mind that means getting rid of the National Insurance increase and cutting VAT, particularly on renewables.”

Sir John Redwood added: “Why is the Chancellor making the UK the only advanced country respond to a global cost of living crisis by increasing taxes?

“Higher taxes make the squeeze worse. Higher taxes bring fewer jobs and less growth.”

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