Tory nightmare: Boris warned of danger of election disaster as poll reveals fiscal fury | Politics | News

The Prime Minister is told that it is “essential” that taxes be reduced. (Image: Getty Images)

More than half of people (55%) support scrapping the tax hike, while only 17% oppose it.

Senior Tories have urged ministers and Treasury officials to listen to the public and scrap plans for a hike. There are fears that the party’s reputation for economic competence is in jeopardy and it risks being punished at the polls.

The rising cost of living is the biggest concern for adults in Britain (54%), according to the Redfield & Wilton Strategies study.

This is a far greater source of anxiety than the pandemic (14%), the potential Russian invasion of Ukraine (14%) or climate change (11%).

Alleged rule-breaking parties at Downing St during the pandemic are the main concern for just 4% of respondents.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis, who has been pushing for the government to do an about-face and reverse the planned rise, said the poll showed ‘the hard truth is that the public is wiser than civil servants of the Treasury”.

He said, “They know the impact on ordinary people; they know the impact on jobs; they know the impact on wages; they know the impact on the amount they can spend.

“All of these variables, in your opinion, are essential for the economy in general and [ones] the Treasury seems to be unaware – and unaware at a time when it doesn’t actually need the money.

David Davis

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis (Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Mr Davis fears the government could suffer electoral damage comparable to the aftermath of Black Wednesday in 1992.

Warning that there is a “great risk in this for the Conservative Party”, he said: “[People] vote Conservative because they think we’re going to cut taxes and make the economy work. Right now I think people expect us to raise taxes more than anyone else, so that’s a really bad rap for a Conservative party. the last time we had that reputation we lost over 100 seats.

Last month, the Chancellor and Prime Minister insisted that the National Insurance increase, which is expected to bring in £12billion, ‘must go ahead’. All employees, employers and self-employed will pay 1.25 pence per pound for one year; the additional tax will then be collected through a “health and welfare tax”.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith urged ministers to focus on people’s main concerns, telling the Sunday Express: ‘They need to listen to what the public really cares about, given the terrible rise in the cost of living, mainly due to soaring energy prices.

Sir Iain has warned against increasing National Insurance to fund the NHS.

He said, “That would be a mistake. It would be putting the burden of it on the shoulders of people who can’t really afford to pay for it. »

The former secretary for work and pensions has also lobbied for the end of “VAT on energy products period” and he wants the abolition of green levies.

The Prime Minister is told people care less about the so-called partygate, but it is ‘essential’ that taxes are cut or the Tories will be ‘punished’ at the ballot box.

A senior Tory official said: “The data is clear. Voters want to see the Prime Minister lead their priorities.

“People care less and less about parties and more and more about the cost of living. We made a commitment that, between now and the next election, taxes would be reduced. Which is essential.”

Urging MPs to put pressure on No 10 and the Treasury, the insider said: ‘A Tory party that oversees this level of debt and high taxation will be punished – MPs know this, and now is the time for them to push to keep the Prime Minister and the Treasury honest.

“An important power lies with backbenchers. They must use it to ensure that conservative values ​​are heard and put into practice.

“If we don’t act quickly, the positives we see will be for naught. Party members see the migration issue being tackled head-on, the government is leading the Ukraine crisis and our economy is well prepared for a strong recovery. .

Close-up woman filling personal income tax return form

More than half of the people (55%) are in favor of eliminating the tax hike. (Image: Getty Images)

“The party must ask itself a fundamental question: what kind of nation do we want? A high, debt-ridden tax? Or a freer, more vibrant Britain?

Labor says it supports increased funding for health and social care, but opposes higher National Insurance contributions because of the impact on workers and businesses.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: ‘We’re all noticing how much prices are going up – whether it’s school shoes for our children, ingredients for our Sunday roast or when we get our energy bills. The government must bring this made in Downing Street crisis under control.

“Instead, all they did was raise taxes at the worst time and give people dodgy buy now, pay their energy bills later.”

John Longworth, a former chief executive of the British Chambers of Commerce who now chairs the Independent Business Network, wants the National Insurance increase to be reversed and has urged the government to opt for high-growth policies.

He said: ‘Government needs to get real if it wants to be re-elected: change course on net zero, cut VAT on fuel.’

John O’Connell, chief executive of the Taxpayers Alliance, also called for the planned National Insurance hike to be scrapped.

Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor of the Labor Party. (Image: DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

He said: ‘Hard working households and struggling businesses know things will only get worse in the coming months and cannot be asked to endure further crippling tax hikes. Planned increases, such as National Insurance hikes, must be scrapped if ministers are to show they still care about lowering the cost of living for ordinary taxpayers.

Former defense minister Mark Francois acknowledged Tory doubts about the impending National Insurance hike, saying: ‘There could be less skepticism on the benches if colleagues were more convinced that the increase in taxes would be spent efficiently. If the NHS is not reformed, we will simply face this scenario over and over again for years to come. »

Rebecca McDonald of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, urged the government to boost benefits amid fears inflation could hit 7% in April.

She said: “At the same time, inflation is at its highest level in 30 years, unemployment support is at its lowest level in 30 years and in April all benefits will be increased by just 3.1% , covering less than half of expected inflation. It is not fair that this disparity leaves the lowest income families struggling with impossible choices – the government must act urgently to bolster our increasingly inadequate social security system.

Daniel Tomlinson of the Resolution Foundation argued that halting the National Insurance hike would be an ‘inefficient’ way to help low-income families who stand to lose the most from rising energy bills .

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He said: “Instead, an extension of the Warm Homes benefit system and rebate, targeted to those most in need, would be the most effective way to tackle rising energy poverty. “

Mr Tomlinson said rising healthcare costs and changing populations over this decade could drive up spending by up to £76billion a year, but he warned he ‘wouldn’t will not be sustainable” to fund this by “repeating past patterns of disproportionately falling tax hikes on payroll packages via National Insurance”.

He said: “The government’s priority going forward should therefore be to tax income more efficiently and fairly, and to find new sources of tax revenue, with better taxation of wealth as a priority.”

A Treasury spokesperson defended the planned increase, saying: “The Health and Social Care Tax will benefit people across the country by addressing the backlogs the pandemic has created on operations and procedures in the NHS, and will strengthen the adult social care system so people don’t. must bear the financial risks associated with the catastrophic costs of care themselves. It is a progressive tax, those who earn more pay more.

“We are providing around £21billion this financial year and next to help families with the cost of living, including cutting the Universal Credit sliding rate to make sure work pays, freezing taxes on alcohol and fuel to cut costs and helping households with their energy bills through our £9.1 billion energy bill rebate.

The Prime Minister can be reassured by poll results showing that less than one in 20 people (four per cent) said the so-called lockdown-era parties in Downing St were their main concern. Mr Johnson will return to the Commons this week after the mid-term break with a police investigation into the rallies in Whitehall still ongoing.

A supporter of Mr Johnson argued that there is a clear distinction between being present at a party venue and talking about work and actively partying.

The results of the inquiry were welcomed by former security minister Sir John Hayes.

He said: ‘It’s really important that the Government focus on what matters to voters – the cost of living, leveling and delivering Brexit benefits, and the fierce battle being waged against the Awakened Warriors to celebrate Britain’s past and shaping its future. .”

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