Only 10 Tory MPs vote against plan for national insurance rise

Bill containing proposal for health and social care levy is rushed through Commons in a single day

Only 10 Tory MPs rebelled against the government’s introduction of a manifesto-busting tax increase to fund social care reforms and the NHS backlog caused by Covid.

The 1.25 percentage point national insurance hike for workers and employers was announced last week by the prime minister, Boris Johnson, as a means to raise £12bn. The bill for the “health and social care levy” was introduced on Tuesday and was rushed through the Commons in a single day.

One of the rebels, John Baron, urged ministers not to “raise taxes on jobs ineffectively, and risk choking off an economic recovery”.

He told the Commons: “I reiterate the concern many of us have that today, in haste, we are discussing very important legislation that will introduce a massive tax increase – bigger than that of some budgets – and yet we do not have details of the social care reforms being proposed. That is not the way to go about business in this place.

“In my 20 years’ experience in this place, when we have rushed through decisions, as we are doing today – the measure was announced only last week – it has often increased the chance of big mistakes being made.

“I know that ministers on the frontbench are not listening, but I ask them even at this late stage to consider allowing more time to consider this important matter. If we do not know the detail of what is proposed, how in heaven are we to know how much money to raise for it?”

The nine other Tories to oppose the bill at its final stage were Philip Davies and Esther McVey – both part of the Blue Collar Conservatives group – as well as Ben Everitt, Marcus Fysh, Craig Mackinlay and new “red wall” MP Dehenna Davison. Longstanding Tory MPs Sir Christopher Chope, Richard Drax and John Redwood also rebelled against the new levy. There were 44 Conservatives who abstained, though some were cabinet ministers who would have been given permission to skip the vote due to other government business.

Despite the government fearing a mass Tory rebellion – and some concern even among the cabinet – only five MPs opposed the move in a vote last week that allowed the new bill to be introduced.

Steve Barclay, the chief secretary to the Treasury, insisted that the tax would raise money in a “responsible and fair way” and said it would tackle the NHS backlog and put adult social care “on a sustainable long-term footing, and end the situation in which those who need help in their old age risk losing everything to pay for it”.


Aubrey Allegretti Political correspondent

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Ministers mull national insurance rise to fund social care
Boris Johnson refuses to recommit to Tory manifesto promise not to raise taxes

Jessica Elgot Chief political correspondent

19, Jul, 2021 @8:10 PM

Article image
Johnson could rethink national insurance rise after Tory backlash
At least five ministers are said to oppose plans for increase to fund crumbling social care system

Heather Stewart and Jessica Elgot

26, Jul, 2021 @2:31 PM

Article image
National insurance hike to hit NHS and care staff with £900m tax bill
Exclusive: Tax rise will inflict ‘terrible’ financial toll on health and social care workers, analysis finds

Andrew Gregory Health Editor

23, Sep, 2021 @2:14 PM

Article image
Boris Johnson lets slip manifesto pledge to cut national insurance
PM’s apparent blunder over £12,500 threshold could benefit him amid ‘factchecking’ row

Rowena Mason Deputy political editor and Jim Waterson Media editor

20, Nov, 2019 @3:42 PM

Article image
‘Chaos’ in No 10 as Johnson finalises social care funding plan
Growing backlash from cabinet ministers and MPs after leaks about plan for national insurance rise

Heather Stewart Political editor

03, Sep, 2021 @6:13 PM

Article image
‘It’s unfair’: Stoke-on-Trent voters see social care tax rise as unjust but necessary
People in the newly Tory seat react to the national insurance hike with a mix of realism and resentment at the effect on the low-paid

Jessica Murray Midlands correspondent

07, Sep, 2021 @4:22 PM

Article image
How the Conservatives pledged no rise in national insurance, then raised it
However you spin it, from David Cameron’s tweets to four unambiguous promises in the election manifesto, this was a pledge broken

Matthew Weaver

09, Mar, 2017 @6:49 PM

Article image
If national insurance must fund social care, at least make it fair
Analysis: the government could generate an extra $20bn by reforming national insurance to tax high earners

Phillip Inman

10, Sep, 2021 @5:00 AM

Article image
Will PM's national insurance pledge help 'working people'?
How much would raising the NI threshold to £12,000 help lower-income workers?

Richard Partington

20, Nov, 2019 @5:16 PM

Article image
Keir Starmer rules out supporting national insurance rise
Labour leader joins chorus of critical voices opposed to proposed hike to pay for social care

Jamie Grierson

06, Sep, 2021 @8:06 AM