Boris Johnson says he made a request ‘in vain’ to reporters
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson was joined by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid during a Downing Street press conference to disucss the National Insurance contribution increase with reporters. But an attempt to mediate proceedings by Boris Johnson was quickly ignored after he asked journalists in attendance to ask only one direct question to each minister rather than all at the same time. Laura Kuenssberg pushed ahead with her questions to all of the ministers regardless with the PM conceding his request was simply “in vain”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced to the House of Commons an increase of National Insurance by 1.25 percent to pay for social care reforms and to clear the NHS backlog.
The increase, which will be put in place from April 2022, was met with widespread criticism with some stating the tax punishes workers and the young.
The Conservatives also promised in their 2019 manifesto they would not increase National Insurance.
Unlike Income Tax, National Insurance contributions do not massively increase with income meaning those at the top and bottom of earning will essentially pay similar amounts.
Boris Johnson said it was in vain requesting one question per reporter (Image: Sky News)
Boris Johnson said his request was in vain (Image: Sky News)
After the Commons debate, Mr Johnson held a press conference to field questions from journalists about the plans.
But in an attempt to mediate proceedings following the change from video questions to in-person, Mr Johnson wanted reporters to ask only one question to one minister to avoid confusion.
Ms Kuenssberg was the first invited up but noted it would be “a shame” not to hear from the three ministers considering they were all there and ready to answer.
She asked Mr Johnson what was fair about a tax bill that will see working people bear the brunt of the costs whereas wealthy properties of pensioners are protected.
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National insurance increase (Image: Express.co.uk)
She then questioned Mr Javid how much of the new levy would be spent on social care and asked for a breakdown of the expenditures.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak was then also asked if he could confirm the Conservatives were still the party of low taxation.
Mr Johnson thanked Ms Kuenssberg and noted his request was “in vain”.
He continued and said the wealthiest 14 percent of the UK population would pay at least of this new levy and said it was right for the burden to be put on the “broadest shoulders”.
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Boris Johnson said the Government’s record had been proven during the pandemic (Image: Sky News)
The PM also said the Government’s financial commitment has been tested and proven right during the pandemic through the furlough scheme and many others.
He concluded the “reasonable” thing to do was to get the NHS “back on its feet” with the tax rise.
Mr Sunak said he did not want to be in a situation where taxes were being raised but backed Mr Javid and Mr Johnson for the tax which will address the long-standing issues in health care.
The Health Secretary also revealed he was told there would be a waiting list of 13 million if things continued how they are so it was important for these taxes to be introduced.