Minister admits ‘embarrassing’ blunder over Afghanistan veteran suicide
The prime minister is set to ignore widespread Conservative criticism with his social care rescue plan, set to hit workers and businesses with higher national insurance (NI) bills, insisting it is the only way to end “catastrophic” care bills.
Despite accusations that the move could punish the young and worse off, Boris Johnson will finally unveil the proposal he promised more than two years ago in an address to MPs on Tuesday afternoon.
“We must act now to ensure the health and care system has the long term funding it needs to continue fighting Covid and start tackling the backlogs, and end the injustice of catastrophic costs for social care,” he is expected to say, confirming the much-anticipated NI increase of around 1.25 per cent – raising £10bn a year.
It comes as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said in a letter to Mr Johnson that his party would oppose the plan, arguing it will do untold damage such as impact businesses already crippled by the pandemic.
Acknowledging that his party agreed some kind of tax rise was necessary to fix the broken social care system, Sir Keir wrote that increasing NI “contributions isn’t the right way to do it”.
Johnson to address House of Commons at 1pm
The Parliamentary schedule for Tuesday has been released and it shows that Boris Johnson will update MPs on his social care plan at the Commons around 1pm.
Before that, the PM will conduct a Cabinet meeting before visiting a care home in London this morning.
We’ll bring you more on his movements as they day progresses.
Sam Hancock7 September 2021 07:58
Labour opposes NI tax hike, Starmer tells PM in letter
Sir Keir Starmer has told the PM his party will oppose plans to increase national insurance to fund social care.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, seen by the PA news agency, Sir Keir said: “The taxes that pay for social care should be fair across the generations and all forms of income. Those with the broadest shoulders should pay more – not the working families now set for an unfair tax rise.”
He added: “We’ve said that this additional investment will need to be funded through tax rises – but increasing national insurance contributions isn’t the right way to do it.
“It would hit working people hard, including low earners and young people, and would place a huge burden on businesses just as they’re trying to get back on their feet.”
Reports have suggested that lifetime contributions on care will be capped at about £80,000 and national insurance will be increased by 1.25 per cent to raise between £10bn and £11bn per year.
But the reported proposals have faced backlash from Tory backbenchers among others.
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith recently told The Telegraph the plans were a “sham” because they did not reform the social care system. While Rachel Harrison, GMB union national officer, said: “We all know our crumbling social care system desperately needs more cash. But raising regressive national insurance – which takes money from the pockets of the lowest-paid workers, is not the way to do it.”
Sir Keir added that Labour would work with the government on a long-term plan if it would “genuinely fixes the crisis in social care and has a fair funding model”.
Sam Hancock7 September 2021 07:54
PM to finally unveil social care plan – angering Tories in process
In the Commons on Tuesday, Boris Johnson will hail the expected national insurance increase of around 1.25 per cent, raising £10bn a year, as evidence that he will not “duck the tough decisions needed” to “fix our broken social care system”.
“We must act now to ensure the health and care system has the long term funding it needs to continue fighting Covid and start tackling the backlogs, and end the injustice of catastrophic costs for social care,” he is expected to say.
The Commons statement and afternoon press conference will come despite Tories from all wings of the party attacking the plan as unfair and likely to backfire.
Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has the full report:
Sam Hancock7 September 2021 07:47
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling UK politics coverage. Stay tuned for the latest updates as Boris Johnson prepares to reveal
Sam Hancock7 September 2021 07:42
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