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Tories blast Johnson over UK's National Insurance hike

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing fierce opposition from his own party over National Insurance hikes. (Photo by Reuters)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing highly scathing criticism within his own party over plans to increase the National Insurance Contributions (NICs) of 25 million of workers in order to raise £10 billion for social care of the elderly people.

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond denounced the plan on Sunday, warning it will trigger “a very significant backlash” causing serious damage to the Conservative Party, adding that، "On any basis, that has got to be wrong.”

Speaking to Times Radio, former chancellor said, “It’s not just about party political advantage. Economically, politically, expanding the state further in order to protect private assets by asking poor people to subsidize rich people has got to be the wrong thing to do.”

Ex-prime minister, John Major has also blasted the plan as “regressive”, while former party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, warned the use of NICs to pay for care could transform the Tories into a “high-tax, high-spend party” without resolving the problem long-term budget deficit for care.

Furthermore, the Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg and trade secretary Liz Truss are considered to be among “many dozens” of cabinet ministers and MPs opposing NICs rises, which is expected to be announced this week alongside a new funding of £10 billion-a-year to help the NHS deal with the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid, along with Boris Johnson, are set to finalize the details of the plan before it starts in the coming week. However, the chancellor is expected to face the wrath of Conservative MPs at a meeting of the backbench 1922 Committee on Monday evening.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph on Sunday, one anonymous cabinet minister reiterated other conservatives’ comments and blasted Johnson’s plan as “morally, economically and politically wrong”.

Meanwhile, the backbencher Steve Baker said, “Of all the ways to break manifesto tax pledges to fund the NHS and social care, raising NIC must be the worst. In this time of crisis, we need a zero-based review of what the state does and how it is funded.”

National Insurance is a particularly regressive tax because it is paid by workers with an annual income of only £9,500, while income tax does not kick in until £12,570.

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