Rishi Sunak handed three point plan by own backbencher – includes slashing all tax rises

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The proposed increase in National Insurance (NI) by 2.5 percent in April this year has been defended by Rishi Sunak as well as the Prime Minister, claiming it is the “right plan” and “must go ahead” even despite opposition to the policy. Announced at last year’s Budget, the changes are aimed at clearing the NHS backlog after the pandemic, and are expected to raise £12billion a year.

However, despite these claims, the policy remains under heavy fire from all sides – including the Conservative party’s own backbenchers.

John Redwood, Tory MP for Wokingham, said today on Twitter: “The new team in Downing Street urgently need new policies.

“They should start with a new economic policy statement cancelling the tax rises, easing the squeeze and encouraging more domestic energy production.”

The tweet was one of many by Mr Redwood condemning the tax rise.
He tweeted yesterday, saying: “Why does the Treasury want to hit the economy so badly with tax rises?

“And why does the Business department hit industry with sky high imported energy prices and carbon levies?

“Taxing us more through National Insurance to lend more money to power companies is not the way to ease the cost of living squeeze. ,

“Tax cuts and lasting cuts to fuel costs by producing more is what we need.

He added today: “As the Bank of England has decided to make us worse off by hitting the economy hard to correct for its past errors, the Chancellor should ease the tax squeeze to avoid a double whammy on living standards.

“It would also make him more popular.”

Highly respected economist Julian Jessop told Express.co.uk that Mr Sunak should scrap the policy, criticising the Chancellor for bunging in the NHS backlog and a plan to fix social care in one single tax.

He said Mr Sunak should abandon his plan to whack up national insurance contributions by 1.25 percentage points in April and instead follow his blueprint to tackle the problem.

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While he said a long term funding plan would be needed for social care, in the short run the money raised from the tax was set to purely go to the NHS.

He said: “The NHS backlog is a sort of one-off cost of the pandemic, it’s in that sort of big cost of £300-400billion worth of money we’ve had to spend to keep the economy going.

“I don’t think anybody is suggesting you should instantly raise taxes by £300billion to pay those one-off costs. So if there’s a backlog of costs to be fixed, I think it would be perfectly reasonable to add that to long-term borrowing,” he said.

“It’s rather like if you needed to do emergency repairs to the roof of a block of flats.

“You tend to add that cost to the long-term service charge, you don’t expect everyone to pay that cost at once because it is a one-off cost.

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“So, it would be perfectly reasonable to add it to borrowing.”

Mr Sunak last weekend wrote an article for a Sunday newspaper with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the tax rise was the “right plan”.

“We must clear the Covid backlogs, with our plan for health and social care – and now is the time to stick to that plan. We must go ahead with the health and care levy,” the pair said in the Sunday Times.

“It is progressive, in the sense that the burden falls most on those who can most afford it.

“Every single penny of that £39billion will go on these crucial objectives – including 9m more checks, scans and operations, and 50,000 more nurses, as well as boosting social care.”



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