Lockdown Tax: UK Govt Hammers Voters With Even Higher Taxes, Breaking Election Promise

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference inside the Downing Street Briefing Room in central London on September 7, 2021. - Breaking an election pledge not to raise taxes, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced hefty new funding to fix a social care crisis and …
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Millions of British taxpayers are being clobbered with a tax rise — against the governing Conservative party’s own promises — as the government scrabbles to pay for the decisions it made, and continues to make in reaction to the Wuhan Coronavirus.

After months of speculation over how the government was to pay for the huge bonanza of spending during the course of the Coronavirus lockdowns, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a 1.25 per cent rise in National Insurance on Tuesday. Branded a ‘health and social care levy’, the tax rise will see hundreds of pounds more a year taken from the pay of workers a year.

Someone taking home the average UK salary of £31,500 a year would pay an extra £275, while an average-earning doctor on £62,000 a year would pay an extra £650, the Daily Telegraph predicts. Everyone who earns more than £9,564 a year will pay more under the higher levy from April 2022.

Working with other new taxes on areas including dividend payments, the rise is supposed to collect £12 billion from the public a year. While it will initially be an increase in National Insurance — one of two direct taxes Britons pay on their income — it will be spun out to its own named tax from 2023.

As he announced the new tax, Prime Minister Johnson attempted to head off criticism for the tax rise, acknowledging that he had specifically pledged to not raise new taxes during the election. He excused himself by claiming that while tax rises were not in the manifesto, neither was the coronavirus, tacitly stating that the contract signed with the British people was no longer seen as one to be honoured.

While the move is clearly a break from a major Conservative election promise, this may not come as much of a surprise to voters. Indeed, broken manifesto promises have been a frequent feature of the 11 years of Conservative rule, with the oft-repeated but never attempted headline pledge to control mass migration to the United Kingdom eventually, and quietly dropped, presumably out of sheer embarrassment at obvious failure.

Despite the UK Conservative Party having been generally been pretty poor at keeping its promises, the party has at least spent the past decade slowly cutting income taxes through the expanses of the zero per cent band — an important talking point on the doorstep and a major election-winning weapon. Even though that came as the party raised taxes in hundreds of other ways, that and the freeze on increasing duty on fuel remained potent for the Conservative’s public image for would-be voters.

There has been some limited resistance to Johnson’s tax-rise plan, but by calling a snap vote on the matter — Boris’s man in Parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg has confirmed members will vote on the rise tomorrow — the PM will hope to strike before rebels have time to organise themselves.


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