It's official. After speculation that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak's proposed national insurance hike may be scrapped to smooth things over after partygate, they have come forward to confirm it will go ahead exactly as planned. This is unwelcome news for a very large number of people, not least because of the already crushing cost of living crisis and ludicrous levels of inflation.
The rise in national insurance tax is, as has been pointed out by others, a Conservative solution to a problem caused by the Conservatives. We have lived through over a decade of austerity measures, a programme originally implemented as a short-term strategy that has become a decidedly long-term blight on our society. Cuts across the board have had disastrous impacts on welfare and public institutions and now, after introducing a cut to universal credit that will push 800,000 people into poverty, the Tories will raise national insurance across the board. But be assured, this change will not impact everyone equally.
This plan will hurt people with lower incomes far more than those with more substantial salaries, even though the increase is weighted proportionally. £715 matters far less to someone making £67,100/year than £180 does to those living in poverty. That equates to days without eating. Reports have also shown that people with middle incomes will have to pay a higher percentage of their salary than people who earn £100,000 a year. This is not a fair way to raise funds.
A think-tank has already advocated for a far less devastating method. They propose shifting the burden in tax from "work to wealth", increasing tax on inheritance, capital, and rent collection. Such an increase would account for the funds needed, but would sadly contradict Conservative ideology. The wealthy have earned their wealth. How dare we try and steal it from them.
In a recent article at Voice Magazine, we reported on the new 'Vimes Boot Theory' price index created by Jack Monroe. But suffice to say, there have been few more succinct descriptions of how living hand-to-mouth completely disproves the idea of 'social mobility'. We are constantly bombarded with success stories from so-called 'paragons of business', who tell us they are 'self-made' and all it takes to escape poverty is determination and a keen mind. These statements are misleading at best. There is often this twisted idea that people living in poverty need only 'work harder' to earn a better life. Regrettably, this logically stunted idea is a core part of Conservative policy, based on the cut to universal credit and the planned national insurance hike. Comments made by Boris Johnson make this abundantly clear.
'Work harder' seems to be the Conservatives' advice to the public. In the face of all the obstacles they have placed in the way of workers and struggling individuals, they ask you to work harder. You would be rich, if only you deserved it. This sort of classism is rife in UK politics, even UK society in general. It seems there will be little reprieve for workers and anyone who is struggling under Tory Britain, and with Keir Starmer denouncing "schoolboy politics", it seems a massive shift will be needed to escape this social rut.