Boris Johnson warned social care reform big gamble as PM faces new internal rebellion

Boris Johnson warned of National Insurance 'gamble' by MP

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Tory MP Damian Green has admitted that breaking a manifesto commitment and raising taxes is a big “gamble” for Boris Johnson. It came after the Prime Minister announced a 1.25 percent rise in National Insurance rates on Tuesday, effectively breaking the Tory promise made before the 2019 general election which was not to “raise the rates of income tax, National Insurance or VAT”.

Speaking on LBC news, host Nick Ferrari asked Damian Green: “A columnist characterised it as a big gamble. How big a roll of the dice is it in your view for the Prime Minister?”

Mr Green replied: “It obviously is every time you make a manifesto commitment, I mean, as you’ve been rightly saying it is for people to judge whether this is worth doing or not.

“And I think, I know from my email inbox and things like that people are increasingly worried about the health service. 

“So I think for what it’s worth, it’s obviously very early days but I think there will be widespread support for the thought that the NHS doesn’t need extra help to recover from the pandemic and social care.

“Because everyone has observed, this has been a thorny subject that governments have ducked for more than 15 years now.”

He went on: “The problem there has always been that there’s no way around it.

“One of the things you have to do is put more money in the system.

“So where that money comes from has always been the point at which governments have ducked it.”

 

Mr Green continued: “So I give the government absolute credit for saying, ‘here is a long-running problem, we are actually going to address it’.

“As I say, I might have done it in a different way, but the fact that the government has the political courage to address it is I think a credit point.”

Boris Johnson introduced a new health and social care tax across the UK to pay for reforms to the care sector and NHS funding in England.

The Prime Minister broke a manifesto pledge, but said the “global pandemic was in no-one’s manifesto”.

Mr Johnson took a political gamble on Tuesday as he scrapped an election promise by raising national insurance contributions to deal with the backlog in the NHS built up during Covid and to deliver long-overdue reform of the social care system in England.

The plan – along with another manifesto-breaking announcement to temporarily suspend the “triple lock” on pensions – moves the Prime Minister away from his traditional position of low-tax Conservatism.

Nr Johnson also refused to give a firm commitment that taxes would not go up again – although he said he did not want that to happen.

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