Nadhim Zahawi grilled on National Insurance rise
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Nadhim Zahawi appeared on the Andrew Marr Show and faced a barrage of questioning on rumoured National Insurance increases to pay for social care reforms and to clear the NHS backlog. Mr Zahawi was bluntly asked whether tax would be raised to fund social care as the minister attempted to dodge the question by discussing the Government’s health goals which were quickly slapped down by Mr Marr. Mr Zahawi said he could not talk about the issue until a proposal was put forward and would be happy talking about it in the future as Mr Marr began reeling off the Government’s promises which they have broken.
The Sunday Times reports National Insurance is set to increase to help fund social care reforms and could be introduced as soon as this week when parliament returns from recess.
The Times said Health Secretary Sajid Javid is pushing for a 2 percent increase, while Chancellor Rishi Sunak is arguing against any increase of more than 1 percent.
The decision goes against a Conservative manifesto pledge which said in 2019 they would not raise the tax.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing criticisms from the opposition benches and from those in his own party over the rumoured plans.
Mr Zahawi was asked whether he agreed it was right to raise National Insurance to fund social care.
He began by saying: “Well we are actually committed to reforming the adult social care system…”
But Mr Marr steered the minister back on track, stating that was “not his question” and queried once again whether National Insurance should be raised to fund social care.
Mr Zahawi stuttered and replied: “I will bring forward our proposals and I’m very happy to come back on your programme when the details are published to discuss how we will pay for better and reformed adult social care.
“Now, it’s worth remembering, Andrew that we put £6billion to help councils to include additional support for adult social care, plus the additional £2billion specific funding to reduce transmission and bolster the workforce in social care.”
An annoyed Mr Marr was angry at Mr Zahawi who could not provide him with a straight answer on whether taxes should be raised and said he and his party stood on a manifesto promising not to raise VAT, income tax or National Insurance.
He wondered whether the Conservatives would break their promises to their voters.
Mr Zahawi said he could not discuss it until details were made public but would be happy to come back on the show to discuss them.
Mr Marr then listed off broken promises by the Conservatives including reducing foreign aid to 0.5 percent of GDP instead of the pledged 0.7 percent.
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