Johnson: higher social insurance to boost health system

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a 1.25 percent increase in social insurance contributions to provide more money for the UK's overburdened public health system. The Conservative government is thereby breaking its election promise not to increase taxes. How will voters react?

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The Guardian (GB) /

Urgently needed cash

An increase in national insurance contributions is justified considering the problems the social care system faces, writes The Guardian:

“The best part of Tuesday’s news is the money: around £12bn a year to be shared between health and social care for each of the next three years. This is likely to be a broadly popular measure; polls show that the public is willing to stump up taxes to pay for a better service. And the NHS desperately needs it, with waiting lists at their highest ever levels in England. To achieve this, the prime minister has calculated that his MPs, and voters, will swallow the pill of broken manifesto promises.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Unreformed NHS will gobble up all the money

Higher social insurance contributions can only improve the healthcare system if they are accompanied by reforms, The Daily Telegraph complains:

“In the absence of imagination, we're heading towards the worst of all worlds - an economically damaging tax rise, whose popularity may wane as its true implications become clear, and an unreformed NHS that will gobble up what it is given and demand more. In the long-term, this will anger not just young workers and small-state Tories, but an increasingly overtaxed population, while their day-to-day experience of health and social care remains largely unchanged.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Taking from the poor to give to the rich

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung criticises Johnson's plans as unfair:

“With his usual chutzpah, he is keeping his election promise to wealthy senior citizens, but betraying the trust of the working classes by increasing social insurance contributions. Workers will now have to hand over several hundred pounds more per year to the state from their average wages so that even millionaires in need of care can bequeath their homes to their children. ... The social care reform that Johnson has now presented is a blatant affront to the lower social classes which he claims to care so much about and which he needs for another election victory. The contradictions are becoming more glaring.”