The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Conservative Boris Johnson, broke his election promise on Tuesday not to raise taxes by announcing a controversial increase in social security contributions to finance the delicate situation of healthcare.
Johnson presented today in the House of Commons the so-called “social and health tax,” with which he hopes to address especially the long waiting lists that the covid-19 pandemic has generated in the public health system (NHS).
The Conservative leader acknowledged in the Lower House, amid booing from deputies of the country’s different political formations, that the plan was contrary to the promises he had made in his program for the December 2019 general elections, but said that the pandemic “was not in his electoral platform.”
At the end of 2019, Johnson promised not to raise social security contributions, income taxes or VAT.
However, in an attempt to clean up the public finances, heavily punished by the emergency measures to alleviate the pandemic, Johnson communicated today that, from April 2022, there will be a 1.25 % increase in social security contributions — to be paid by both the employee and the employer.
This will allow an annual collection of 12,000 million pounds (13,920 million euros,) explained Johnson, whose plan affects England, although the other British regions — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — will also receive aid from this tax.
The current social security contribution varies according to the salaries of each worker, but the basic rate is 12 % for the employee and 13.8 % for the employer.
The pandemic has pushed the UK’s accumulated debt close to 100 % of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Through the current UK long-term care system, elderly people without sufficient resources and who are mentally or physically disabled can receive help with daily tasks such as eating, washing, dressing and shopping.
Many elderly people are forced to dip into their savings or sell their homes to pay for their care.
Under the new plan, the state will pay for all assistance for people with assets below 20,000 pounds (23,300 euros), while those with between 20,000 and 100,000 pounds (23,200 and 116,000 euros) will have to contribute, but never more than 86,000 pounds (99,760 euros), for the years they need assistance, Johnson explained.
The “premier” insisted that the program is aimed at protecting the population from the “catastrophic fear of losing everything.”
According to the latest official figures, in fiscal 2019/20 local authorities received 1.9 million dependency claims, which is 100,000 more than five years ago.