BORIS Johnson will today warn the NHS will never recover from Covid without tax rises as he shreds his manifesto promise not to hike National Insurance.
In a bid to see off a massive Tory rebellion, the PM will vow to use the cash to increase current NHS capacity by a million treatments a year to try to shift the pandemic backlog by the next Election.
His allies claim that boost will see a 10 per cent increase in current capacity in the next two to three years as BoJo vowed not to “duck the tough decisions needed to get NHS patients the treatment they need.”
A 1.25 per cent raise to NI contributions from both workers and firms will then be used to fund the “catastrophic” black hole in social care – with care costs capped at £80,000 a year.
The point at which the elderly begin to pay for their own care will also be significantly raised.
Last night Downing Street said: “Under the current care system, anyone with assets over £23,350 pays for their care in full.
“This can lead to spiralling costs and the complete liquidation of someone’s assets. Around one in seven people now pay over £100,000, and there is an unfair and often catastrophic discrepancy between someone who has dementia paying for their care in full, while someone cared for by the NHS receives care for free.”
No10 also claimed 5 million people are still waiting for surgery and treatment since the virus hit and that could more than double to 13 million without an urgent cash injection.
‘It’s levelling down’
Mr Johnson will use a press conference today flanked by the Health Secretary and Chancellor – who signed off the plan over the weekend – to insist Covid has “changed the NHS for the foreseeable future”.
Last night the PM said: “The NHS is the pride of our United Kingdom, but it has been put under enormous strain by the pandemic. We cannot expect it to recover alone.
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“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.”
But his plan has been hit by a torrent of criticism as the retired do not pay National Insurance and it disproportionately hits the lower paid.
Senior Tory MP John Redwood branded the plan stupid and one of the PM’s closest friends warns in today’s Sun he must think again on his “inherently unfair” raid.
Former Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry writes: “Young working families who struggle to pay their mortgages and put shoes on their kids’ feet will be paying for the care of wealthy pensioners who don’t pay NI. That’s inherently unfair. It’s the opposite of this Government’s levelling up agenda. It’s levelling down.”
Mr Johnson was swept to his landmark 2019 election win on a pledge not to touch NICs, but last night ministers insisted the “unforeseeable” pandemic had left the manifesto in tatters.
Mr Johnson is also expected to announce a temporary pause on his pensions triple lock promise – to stop pensioners getting a whopping 8 per cent rise this year.
But the move will require legislation setting up a major parliamentary showdown.
Last night Mr Sunak told Tory MPs there was a “tough autumn ahead” with “disagreements” coming.
However, Red Wall poster girl Dehenna Davison, who turned Bishop Auckland in Durham blue, blasted: “I was elected on this manifesto… we absolutely cannot go against this manifesto”.
And Rother Valley MP Alex Stafford warned: “Conservatives should not be raising taxes willy nilly.”
Yesterday Mr Berry – who left the Cabinet last year- also turned fire on Health Secretary – accusing him of being a tax rise turn coat.
The Northern Tory ringleader hit out: “When I was sat round that Cabinet table and Sajid Javid was the chancellor of the exchequer writing the Conservative Party manifesto, he was a great believer in not racking up the jobs tax and I just wonder why he’s had a sort of Damascene conversion when becoming the Health Secretary to seeing the jobs tax as the way forward.”
Mr Johnson’s Cabinet will meet tomorrow to rubber stamp the plan – with as many as five said to be privately opposed to the tax raid.
There was also anger last night that the majority of ministers were kept in the dark about the details ahead of the meeting.
One branded the plan “electoral roulette” after Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg warned publicly that voters have long memories for broken promises over tax.
In a bid to quell Tory anger at the move, both Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak pressed the flesh last night in person at a party welcoming MPs back to Westminster after the summer break and lockdown.
Mr Sunak made a public show of loyalty to the PM and urged all Tories to get behind Mr Johnson, saying: “I, like all of you, take our lead from the Prime Minister. The leader of our party and the country. We owe him our support and loyalty.”
Around one in every five Pounds raised in taxation already comes from NICS, taken at source on wages of more than £9,564 a year, or £184 per week.
Workers then pay 12 per cent on earnings over this amount and up to £50,268, or £967 a week.
A raise of 1 per cent would see those earning £15,000 pay around £54 a year more under the new raid, and those earning £25,000 stump up £154 more.
NICs on earnings of £35,000 would increase by £254 a year and on a salary of, £50,000 would go up by £404.