Boris Johnson refuses to rule out further tax rises
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The vast majority of Conservative MPs fell into line as they lined up to back the manifesto breaking proposals. Mr Johnson’s plan will see the introduction of a new health and social care levy, based on a 1.25 percentage-point increase in national insurance (NI) contributions.
All those earning more than £9,000 a year will now be forced to cough up more money to the taxpayer each year.
Under the new levy a typical basic-rate taxpayer earning £24,100 will pay £180 more a year, while a higher-rate taxpayer on £67,100 will pay £715.
Despite Tory MPs having fiercely attacked the plans when they were first leaked, the proposals easily passed in the Commons.
MPs backed the plans by 391 votes to 248.
Labour, the SNP and Lib Dems all voted against the plans, warning the health and social care levy unfairly burdened low and middle-income workers.
As well as providing extra funding for the NHS to deal with the backlog built up during the Covid-19 pandemic, the new package of £36billion over three years will also reform the way adult social care in England is funded.
A cap of £86,000 on lifetime care costs from October 2023 will protect people from the “catastrophic fear of losing everything”, Mr Johnson said.
The Government will fully cover the cost of care for those with assets under £20,000, and contribute to the cost of care for those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000.
Only a small number of Conservatives failed to support Mr Johnson’s funding plan.
Former minister Jake Berry, who chairs the Northern Research Group of red wall Tory MPs, led the revolt voicing concerns the new levy will “never go down, it can only go up”.
Attacking the plan for being “un-Conservative”, the Rossendale and Darwen MP said: “If it’s an NHS tax which will be hypothecated and listed on your payslip then call it that, don’t call it a health and social care tax because it’s to fund the NHS and when the time comes to move the money from the NHS over to health and social care, what Government of any political hue is going to cut £12billion from the NHS budget?
“So if you create an NHS tax, you have an NHS tax forever, it will never go down, it can only go up.
“No party is ever going to stand at an election and say I’ve got a good idea, vote for me, I’ll cut the NHS tax.
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“So I just think there’s huge danger for us in creating such a hypothecated tax and having it on people’s payslips.”
Conservative MP Dehenna Davison abstained on the vote after admitting she was unsure the tax was the best way of fixing the social care problem.
Wycombe MP Steve Baker refused to back the plans, accusing them of being “socialist”.
He said: “We all know that eventually as a socialist you run out of other people’s money and I have to say I’m sorry ministers I’m not going to be able to vote with you tonight because some of us are going to have to be seen to be standing for another path.”
She said: “In principle, I back the Government’s plan to finally fix social care after decades of it being kicked down the road, so won’t vote against it.
“But I can’t vote for this plan yet without ensuring all avenues have been explored to make this the fairest system for my constituents.”
Following the approval of the new levy, analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies indicates Britons are now paying more tax than at any time since World War Two.
Addressing the 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs shortly before the vote the Prime Minister said despite the rises, the Tories were still “the party of low taxation”.
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