Right-wingers turn on Boris Johnson for ‘shameful betrayal over tax rises’

One thinks it 'guarantees the total victory of socialism in Britain’.

Right-wing commentators, columnist and even some Tory MPs have turned on prime minister Boris Johnson over his decision to bring in a new health and social care tax to  fund extra spending on the NHS and social care.

Tory supporting blog Conservative Home featured a number of stories and columns on its round up which included disgruntled right wingers who labelled the tax rises as a ‘shameful betrayal’ and one that ‘guarantees the total victory of socialism in Britain’. This is the view of Allister Heath, editor of the Tory supporting Sunday Telegraph, who also thinks that the tax rises could be as ‘toxic, as poisonous and as destructive as the ERM crisis, the Iraq dossier or the bank bailout’.

It’s worth pointing out that it will be younger workers and those on low incomes who will be hardest hit by the decision to implement the tax as a 1.25 percentage point rise in National Insurance from April 2022, paid by both employers and workers, before it becomes a separate tax on earned income from 2023.

According to the Resolution Foundation, “lower earners pay more under a NI rise than they would from an Income Tax rise. Even some workers earning under £10,000 a year would be affected by a NI rise, while only those earning over £12,570 pay Income Tax.”

One struggles to see how tax rises disproportionately affecting the young and those on low incomes can be billed a ‘victory for socialism’ or a ‘staggering move to the left’. The decision to hike national insurance contributions also breaks a Tory manifesto pledge in the 2019 general election not to increase the rate of income tax, VAT, or national insurance.

It led to several Tory MPs warning that the decision could harm the Conservtive Party in the long run, including the gains it has made in red wall constituencies.

Five Tory MPs voted against the proposal and a further 37 did not vote at all.

Meanwhile, right-wing think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs has been busy publishing comments in the Telegraph and Daily Mail attacking the very fundamentals of the NHS after Boris’ tax hike.

In an op-ed for the Daily Mail, IEA head of lifestyle economics, Christopher Snowdon is arguing that giving extra money into the NHS ‘will fail to make any difference as extra funds will be swallowed up by middle management and bureaucracy’ while claiming what was needed was ‘major structural reform’.

Professor Len Shackleton of the IEA is also in the Express arguing that the extra cash will be ‘swallowed up by NHS bureaucracy’ , taking a swipe at the NHS’s insatiable demand for funds which could be used to give a pay rise to nurses.

Basit Mahmood is co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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