Minister Says UK’s National Insurance Rate Hike ‘Going Ahead’ Despite Reported Misgivings From BoJo

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Britons over the age of 16 pay into the National Insurance system on a compulsory basis until retirement, receiving a range of social security benefits such as pension, sick pay and unemployment support in return. The scheme accounts for nearly one-fifth of the government’s tax revenues.
Britain will be going ahead with the 1.25 percent increase in the National Insurance rate starting in April, Technology Minister Chris Philp has announced.

“Yes, it is going ahead. It was approved by the whole cabinet, it was passed by parliament with a significant majority and the money is needed to fund the NHS which is something I think that is a national priority. It’s £36 billion over three years to fund the NHS and social care. We need to put that money in to make sure the NHS has the resources it needs to recover after the pandemic, and this is a proportionate way of finding that money,” Philp said, speaking to Sky News on Friday.

Earlier, UK media reported that Prime Minister Johnson was considering delaying the rate hike amid fears of a revolt from Tory backbenchers as he continues to reel from “partygate” – revelations that he and members of his staff engaged in drinkey doos in 2020 while the rest of the country was under hard lockdowns. The scandal has already forced Johnson to throw some “red meat” to his base, with the prime minister announcing last week that nearly all Covid restrictions would be lifted starting 26 January, ostensibly due to positive data coming from the UK Health Security Agency regarding the virus’s Omicron variant.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson samples an Isle of Harris gin as he visits a UK Food and Drinks market, set up in Downing Street, London, Tuesday Nov. 30, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.01.2022
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Publicly, Johnson has maintained that a rate hike is “absolutely vital,” saying on Thursday that “every penny” of the increase “will go towards fixing the Covid backlogs and also social care.”
The government’s critics fear that the National Insurance rate hike will become just another hit against ordinary Britons’ pocketbooks amid a "perfect storm" of financial calamities sending prices soaring. Last week, government data revealed that inflation had hit a three-decade high in December. The government also plans to update a price cap on energy in April and October, which observers fearing the move could drive energy bills up by as much as 75 percent for households.
Last week, Bloomberg warned that Britain is on the brink of a “brutal cost-of-living crisis” amid the combination of high inflation, soaring energy rates, and new taxes. The Resolution Foundation, a London-based think tank, has warned that the crunch will constitute a “living standards catastrophe” unless measures are taken to address it.
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The National Insurance rate hike is expected to hit lower-income families particularly hard, with those earning £20,000 pounds, for example, made to pay an additional £130, while those making £30,000, £50,000 or £80,000 having to shell out £255, £505 or £880, respectively.
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