Boris Johnson will seek to convince Conservative MPs to back his plan to fix welfare in England today (Wednesday) in a brief vote in the Commons convened just the day after the manifesto-destructive new policy was announced .
The Prime Minister took a political risk yesterday when he broke an election pledge by increasing social security contributions to deal with the backlog built up in the NHS during Covid and carry out the long overdue reform of the welfare system in England.
Tory’s opposition to the plans when it was first leaked was fierce, but any back bench rebellion seemed to have subsided by yesterday as MPs challenged the Prime Minister little when he put his proposals to the House of Commons.
But the plan – along with another announcement breaking the manifesto to temporarily suspend the “triple lock” on pensions – removes Mr Johnson from his traditional position of low-tax conservatism.
The prime minister also refused to give a firm promise that taxes would not rise again – although he said he would not.
“I certainly don’t want any more tax increases in this Parliament. If you want me to make that emotional commitment, of course you will, ”he said at a press conference on Downing Street, flanked by Minister of Health Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
He said, “There aren’t many people in the Conservative Party …
Mr. Sunak added, “None of us standing here want to be in a situation where we are raising taxes.”
However, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank said the announcements meant tax revenues will hit the highest percentage of national income, and when combined with earlier announcements, the tax burden will rise to the highest level ever.
Mr Johnson is expected to address the influential 1922 Committee of Backbenches Tory MPs ahead of today’s vote.
The government’s plan is to introduce a new health and social fee based on a 1.25 percentage point increase in Social Security (NI) contributions – a violation of Tory’s commitment not to increase the NI.
Under the new levy, a typical property taxpayer with an income of £ 24,100 would pay £ 180 more per year, while a taxpayer with a higher tax rate of £ 67,100 would pay £ 715.
The new package of 36 billion
A cap of £ 86,000 on lifelong care costs from October 2023 protects people from “the catastrophic fear of losing everything,” Johnson said.
The government will pay full care costs for those with assets less than £ 20,000 and will contribute to the costs of care for those with assets between £ 20,000 and £ 100,000.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive £ 2.2 billion more annually as a result, around 15 percent more than they will contribute through the levy, what ministers referred to as the “Union dividend” of £ 300 million.
Some cabinet members reportedly challenged Mr Johnson privately when he presented his plan to them yesterday morning, but none resigned on the principle.
In the House of Commons, the conservative backbencher Richard Drax (South Dorset) said: “As Conservatives, we should be concerned about broken promises and tax increases. Our finances are in a dangerous state. Surely a radical review of the NHS is needed if this money is not to disappear into another black hole?
“Does my right, honorable friend agree with me that the conservative way to increase revenue is to lower taxes, not raise them?”
The Prime Minister replied that he agreed to “this general proposal” but that the pandemic made the increase necessary.
Another backbencher was dissatisfied with the proposals themselves. Stephen McPartland stated that he could not support the government’s welfare plan without further details.
The Stevenage MP said on Twitter: “The new health and welfare tax will not provide new funding for social welfare for at least three years. No money for living expenses, just personal hygiene expenses. Selling your home is just being postponed. It’s a tax on jobs. I need a lot more details to even think about supporting them. ”
Labor and the Liberal Democrats have announced that they will oppose the measures in parliament today, but former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he believed the government would win the vote.
He told the BBC, “I can’t really imagine backbenchers going to their own constituencies and saying they tried to get extra money to vote for the NHS and the care system.”
A YouGov poll found voters are divided on their views on the rise in national insurance.
44 percent of those questioned supported the move, 43 percent were against it.
Among Conservative voters, there was 59 percent support and 34 percent opposition, while only a third of Labor supporters supported the move with 55 percent in opposition.
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