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Social Care Tax Hike Erases Tory Poll Lead — But Labour Fail to Make Gains

© REUTERS / TOBY MELVILLEBritain's Prime Minister Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak and Health Secretary Javid give news conference in London
Britain's Prime Minister Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak and Health Secretary Javid give news conference in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.09.2021
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The Labour opposition has criticised the rise in social security tax as hitting low-paid workers. But others have said the threshold for government help with elderly care costs is so high it will mean many pensioners will still be forced to sell their homes.
The Conservatives have slipped behind in the polls for the first time since January over divisions regarding a tax hike to fund elderly care.
The latest survey by YouGov — a pollster with a reputation for predicting election winners —showed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Tories slumping by five points to 33 per cent support.
The poll of 1,657 adults was taken on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Parliament debated and voted through a 1.25 per cent rise in National Insurance (NI) — the UK's social security tax paid by earners and employers — on Wednesday.
The hike will pay for help with social care costs for the elderly and clearing the National Health Service (NHS) waiting list backlog left by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But opposition leader Keir Starmer's Labour Party, which opposed the hike in contributions as a tax on low-paid workers, failed to capitalise on the Tory slide, increasing its support by just one per cent.
The Liberal Democrats and Reform UK — the rebranded Brexit Party — both picked up two points.

“Who knew that whacking taxes up for red wall workers while simultaneously unrolling a red carpet on every beach in Kent and Sussex and threatening civil liberties like a drunken traffic warden could hurt the Tories' polling figures. Seriously who could have guessed it?” a Reform UK spokesman said.

If translated into general election votes, the poll results would indicate a hung Parliament with Labour as the biggest party by a margin of 15 seats, according to website Electoral Calculus.
Britain's PM, Health Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer visit Westport Care Home in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
Social Care Tax Hike: Price of a Pint a Week to Inherit Mum and Dad's House?
Another poll by Opinium on Wednesday showed 45 per cent of Britons opposed the NI rise, compared to 33 per cent who backed it. But a majority of Tory voters — 49 per cent to 33 per cent — supported the move.
YouGov's own snap poll on Tuesday showed opinion evenly split 44 to 43 per cent for and against the tax hike.
Johnson promised the social care plan in his 2019 election manifesto to address the issue of pensioners having to spend their life savings and re-mortgage their homes to pay for nursing home care, which averages between £850 and £1,050 per week, leaving no inheritance for their children.
But under the details of the plan, the government will only pay care costs over £86,000 in an individual's lifetime. Critics have pointed out that this could still mean many couples in areas with lower property values — outside big cities and the south-east of England — would have to pledge the entire equity of their homes to care providers.
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