Government Hikes Payroll Tax as Fuel Prices Hit All-Time High

A motorist refills the fuel tank of their motorbike at a Jet petrol station in Leyton, eas
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

As fuel prices hit all-time highs amid a massive cost of living crisis, Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party government has hiked payroll tax across the United Kingdom.

Despite the ongoing cost of living crisis brought about by the aftermath of the Chinese Coronavirus Pandemic and the Ukraine War, Boris Johnson’s government has successfully hiked payroll tax across the UK.

The move comes as the cost of fuel in the country hits an all-time high, with a small fuel-duty cut previously implemented by the country’s finance tsar doing little to nothing to curtail rising costs.

According to a report by state-owned broadcaster, the BBC, those earning around £80,000 gross will end up paying nearly £600 more per year.

The increase in taxes has been justified by the government as being necessary to keep the NHS — Britain’s socialised healthcare service recently embroiled in a maternity death scandal — afloat after the COVID pandemic.

“The cost has been enormous — well over £400 billion,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak previously claimed in an opinion piece regarding the hike.

“We have been able to afford it because the Conservative government is careful with the nation’s finances,” they continued. “We must continue to be responsible now, as we deal with Covid aftershocks — and above all with the Covid backlogs in healthcare.”

“We must go ahead with the health and care levy,” the piece went on to read, justifying the hike. “It is progressive: the burden falls most on those who can most afford it. Every penny of that £39 billion will go on crucial objectives — including nine million more checks, scans and operations, and 50,000 more nurses, as well as boosting social care.”

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has even gone so far as to say it would be morally wrong not to hike the tax, saying that the burden would fall on younger generations should tax not be raised now.

“Why should our children pay for our healthcare and our adult social care?” he asked. “They are going to have enough challenges as they grow older. I think that will be the wrong approach.”

While Boris Johnson and co. have been adamant that the tax hikes on British workers are justified, others have criticised the increased burden at a time when citizens face spiralling costs for goods and services.

The Conservative Party government has said that they are taking measures to address the crisis, with Sunak in particular relaxing the levy on fuel in the UK in the hopes of keeping prices down.

However, these efforts seem to have completely failed to have the intended effect, with RAC Fuel Watch reporting that the price of fuel hit an all-time high in the UK during March, with petrol maxing out at 167.3p per litre (~$8.30 per gallon) and diesel at 179.9p per litre (~$8.92 per gallon).

What’s more, many have lashed out at Boris Johnson’s government for having the audacity to hike taxes in the first place, promising during the last general election that the government would specifically not hike the price of National Insurance.

“In 2019 Boris Johnson’s Conservatives promised: ‘We will not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance’,” Labour Party MP Anneliese Dodds wrote online. “Today they raised the rate of National Insurance in the middle of a cost of living crisis.”

“You can’t trust the Conservatives,” she concluded.


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