Tory poll lead over Labour collapses to just four percent amid fury over national insurance tax hike

The Tory party‘s lead has collapsed to just four percent – the lowest in six months – amid fury over a national insurance tax hike to fund social care reforms.   

It is the Conservative’s smallest lead since mid-February, when the UK was in the midst of its third lockdown, according to a YouGov poll conducted for The Times

The data gave Johnson’s government only 38 per cent support, down from 44 per cent the previous week. By comparison, Labour had gained three points for 34 per cent support.

It comes as Johnson faces a Cabinet revolt over social care after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng publicly dismissed the idea of funding social care reforms by hiking national insurance.   

The PM, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid are believed to be on the verge of agreeing a 1p increase on NI contributions to raise up to £10billion a year.

That would pay for a lifetime cap on the amount people contribute towards their care. 

Boris Johnson's Tory party's lead has collapsed to just four percent - the lowest in six months - amid fury over a national insurance tax hike to fund social care reforms

Boris Johnson's Tory party's lead has collapsed to just four percent - the lowest in six months - amid fury over a national insurance tax hike to fund social care reforms

Boris Johnson’s Tory party’s lead has collapsed to just four percent – the lowest in six months – amid fury over a national insurance tax hike to fund social care reforms

The PM and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are believed to be on the verge of agreeing a 1p increase on NI contributions to raise up to £10billion a year

The PM and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are believed to be on the verge of agreeing a 1p increase on NI contributions to raise up to £10billion a year

The PM and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are believed to be on the verge of agreeing a 1p increase on NI contributions to raise up to £10billion a year

However, in a round of interviews on Thursday Mr Kwarteng pointed to the vow in the Tory manifesto that NI, income tax and VAT will not be increased during this Parliament. 

‘That’s what it says in the manifesto, I don’t see how we could increase national insurance,’ he told Sky News. 

‘But you know things have been very flexible over the last 18 months, we’ve lived through an unprecedented time, we’ve been spending huge amounts of money that we never thought was possible and it’s up to the Chancellor and the Treasury, and the wider Government, to decide a budget.’

Mr Kwarteng added: ‘I don’t think we’ll put up national insurance in that specific…’    

In a round of interviews on Thursday Mr Kwarteng pointed to the vow in the Tory manifesto that NI, income tax and VAT will not be increased during this Parliament

In a round of interviews on Thursday Mr Kwarteng pointed to the vow in the Tory manifesto that NI, income tax and VAT will not be increased during this Parliament

In a round of interviews on Thursday Mr Kwarteng pointed to the vow in the Tory manifesto that NI, income tax and VAT will not be increased during this Parliament

The social care announcement had been expected this week, but appears to have been delayed until the Autumn after Health Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) tested positive for Covid and the PM and Chancellor had to self-isolate

The social care announcement had been expected this week, but appears to have been delayed until the Autumn after Health Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) tested positive for Covid and the PM and Chancellor had to self-isolate

The social care announcement had been expected this week, but appears to have been delayed until the Autumn after Health Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) tested positive for Covid and the PM and Chancellor had to self-isolate

Economists have been scathing about the idea of raising revenue for social care through NICs, branding it the least fair way as it hits those on the lowest incomes and pensioners do not pay. 

However, the premier appeared to pave the way for the move at a press conference earlier this week by sidestepping questions about whether the manifesto commitment would be honoured. 

There are reports that the levy could start as early as next year and also be used to fund a 3 per cent pay award for NHS staff, which was announced last night.  

Mr Johnson’s attempts to reach cross-party consensus on social care suffered a blow yesterday as Sir Keir Starmer labelled the NICs funding stream a ‘jobs tax’. 

Sir Keir argued at PMQs that charging businesses could deter them from employing extra people.

The Labour leader said: ‘The trouble is that nobody believes a word the Prime Minister says any more.

‘He promised he had a plan for social care, but he has ducked it for two years. He promised not to raise tax, but now he is planning a jobs tax.’

Mr Johnson had hoped to unveil his reforms this week. But as he and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are both now isolating thanks to the Covid ‘pingdemic’, the changes have been delayed until the autumn – after Parliament’s summer recess.

The NI plan faced criticism because it would hit lower-paid workers more than an increase in income tax, and because those of pension age do not pay NI even if they still work.    

Boris Johnson appeared on a screen during Prime Minister's Questions as he is self-isolating, meaning his social care plan has been put back until the autumn after the summer recess

Boris Johnson appeared on a screen during Prime Minister's Questions as he is self-isolating, meaning his social care plan has been put back until the autumn after the summer recess

Boris Johnson appeared on a screen during Prime Minister’s Questions as he is self-isolating, meaning his social care plan has been put back until the autumn after the summer recess

Attempts to reach cross-party consensus for Boris Johnson’s social care reforms suffered a blow yesterday as Sir Keir Starmer (pictured at PMQs) hit out at the plans as a ‘jobs tax’

Attempts to reach cross-party consensus for Boris Johnson’s social care reforms suffered a blow yesterday as Sir Keir Starmer (pictured at PMQs) hit out at the plans as a ‘jobs tax’

Attempts to reach cross-party consensus for Boris Johnson’s social care reforms suffered a blow yesterday as Sir Keir Starmer (pictured at PMQs) hit out at the plans as a ‘jobs tax’

Link hienalouca.com

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