Boris Johnson and his team haven't publicly announced it yet but that’s not how they work. It has appeared in all of their favoured national newspapers through what are presented as leaks from a cabinet that really can’t seemed to hold its water.
Increasing national insurance is said to be the favoured approach to fund the changes but there are reported disagreements about the scale of the rise. And it would mean breaking a manifesto promise – shock, horror!
The plans could be revealed as soon as next week when Parliament returns from its summer recess, both The Times and The Daily Telegraph suggest.
Yet when asked if there could be no national insurance hike, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told Sky News in July: “That’s what it says in the manifesto, I don’t see how we could increase national insurance.
“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 Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid are the three main players involved in the decision.
The Times said Mr Javid has pushed for a two per cent increase to help fully fund the plan, adding Mr Sunak was arguing against any increase of more than one per cent
The Daily Telegraph said it had been told Number 10 favours a one percentage point rise but the Treasury is pushing to go higher, possibly by up to 1.25 percentage points. Both papers said no final decision has been taken and discussions are ongoing.
Now it would be much easier for Downing Street to get its story straight and for us, the mere electorate, to understand things clearly if somebody in power came out and honestly told us what was happening.
But it seems that rather than risking any kind of public reaction which they might not like, they hide and send out secret whispers instead. What could they be scared of?