The Guardian

Only 10 Tory MPs vote against rise in national insurance

- Aubrey Allegretti Political correspond­ent

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 Boris Johnson as a means to raise £12bn. When the bill for the “health and social care levy” was introduced yesterday, it 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: “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 … it has often increased the chance of big mistakes being made.”

He went on to point out: “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 in the Blue Collar Conservati­ves group – as well as Ben Everitt, Marcus Fysh, Craig Mackinlay and Dehenna Davison. Longstandi­ng Tory MPs Sir Christophe­r Chope, Richard Drax and John Redwood also rebelled. There were 44 Tories who abstained.

Despite No 10 fearing a mass rebellion, only five MPs opposed the move in a vote last week that allowed the bill to be introduced.

Steve Barclay, the chief secretary to the Treasury, insisted the tax would raise money in a “responsibl­e and fair way”, tackle the NHS backlog and put adult social care “on a sustainabl­e long-term footing”.

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