Patrick Christys: National Insurance hikes will predominantly affect younger people — that's not fair
National Insurance hikes would alienate most Conservative backbenchers, many Red Wall constituents and the young.
Do you want to pay more tax? Because strap yourselves in, it’s coming your way. No, this isn’t an alternative universe where Our Dear Leader Jeremy Corbyn won a stonking majority at the last general election and now we’re all paying for free national broadband and puppies for every single child or whatever else Red Jez came up with. No, this is the announcement that apparently the Tories are considering raising National Insurance by between 1 and 2%.
There are a few issues here. Firstly, we’ve been promised a social care package for years and this is the best they could come up with – let’s raise tax to pay for it. I mean it’s hardly Salvador Dali levels of creativity is it?
It also breaks a manifesto promise. They literally said they wouldn’t do it. Now, they’re trying to dodge this issue by calling it a 'surcharge' or a 'health levy,' but we weren’t born yesterday, we all know this is the breaking of a manifesto pledge, no matter what they call it.
It’s terrible politically for a few reasons. Firstly, people in the Red Wall seats, people who leant their vote to the Tories, did so because they wanted to be better off, not worse off. And now they might see more money coming out of their pay packet than before. All to help pay for a health service that, in the case of thousands of GPs, can’t be bothered to go back to work anyway.
So Red Wall voters are literally being shortchanged – that’s like commiting political hari kari. Then there’s the fact that it’s predominantly younger people who’ll be paying for this. Those people who have retired, amassed sizeable assets and retreated to their second home in the Cotswolds won’t be picking up the bill. But Darren the newly qualified mechanic from Basingstoke will. That hardly seems fair.
The Tories are about as popular as a fart in a lift with many young people anyway – this isn’t exactly going to change that. But it also removes one key difference between our two parties. It was ever thus that Labour love a spending programme – they often haven’t figured out how they plan on paying for that but they do it anyway.
Some people say a traditional Labour government is like going out for dinner with someone, they order the oysters and the Moet, they’ve got a bottle of Chateau Neuf du pap on the side and then they really hammer it home with a fillet minion and a souflee for good measure… and then they remember that they left their wallet at home so you’ll have to pick up the tab.
The Tories are supposed to cut tax, not raise it. We’ve now blurred the lines between our parties and that’s a concern. Don’t believe Keir Starmer when he says he opposes this. When has a Labour government opposed tax hikes, really? And it’s not like he has an alternative plan is it? What do you want Keir? Well, something a bit like this, but not quite this. Right, cheers boss.
Then there’s the fact that this might actually be pretty damaging for the economy – it’s time to GO FOR GROWTH! Not strangle the living heck out of our nation with increased taxation. So, in short, we now have a potential hike to national insurance that would alienate most Conservative backbenchers, alienate many red wall constituents, alienate the young, remove a fundamental key point of difference between our two political parties and possibly damage the economy.
But apart from that it’s a great idea and one we should definitely adopt.