Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has told the Prime Minister his party will oppose plans to increase national insurance to fund social care.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, who is set to reveal his plans to fix the crumbling social care system in the Commons on Tuesday, Starmer said Labour supported tax increases to overhaul the system.
But he said that a national insurance rise would “hit working people hard, including low earners and young people” and disproportionately impact businesses that had been damaged by the pandemic.
Starmer 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.”
And 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 ($110,000), and national insurance will be increased by 1.25 percent to raise between £10 billion ($13.8 billion) and £11 billion ($15.1 billion) per year.
But the reported proposals have faced backlash from Tory backbenchers among others.
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told The Telegraph the plans were a “sham” because they did not reform the social care system, while the newspaper also reported the government was considering holding a snap vote in the Commons this week on the proposals.
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.”
Starmer added that Labour would work with the government on a long-term plan if it “genuinely fixes the crisis in social care and has a fair funding model.”
By Geraldine Scott