This is what our readers thought of the (at the time) purported rise:
Jean Hepplestone added her thoughts, saying that “I think it will hit lower income families really hard. I am a pensioner and to be fair I paid in 48 yrs and my husband the same presumably for health care and old age. But the country can't support the sheer number of people who aren't paying in either by unemployment, disability or unfortunately freeloaders.”
Diane Ramsay holds the opinion that “They can raise the threshold to protect everyone on low income but the reality is the NHS needs to be properly funded - and those that can afford to pay an extra 1% or 2% should. Alternatively, do we need to consider a separate flat rate NHS tax that everyone pays - this IS a service available to everyone and is constantly used as a political pawn”, and she was responded to by Alexander Fischer, who said; “if you raise national insurance you're not asking the ones who can pay, you're taking money away from the ones who can't.”
Meanwhile, Stuart Burton is of the belief that this would impact the young and lesser well-off more, saying “Yes - national insurance is the most unfair tax and hurts the poor far more than the rich.”
And Mel Machin doesn’t take think that it is such a bad thing provided that it’s actually used in the right way, he said “Not at all. Every generation since the creation of the Welfare state has demanded paying for our elderly as a privilege. Where would we be without it. My only fear is that because care is now mostly in private hands the extra money may end up in the Directors pockets?”
Some of the people responding were cynical about the planned rise in contributions, like Sally-Marie Smith and she replied saying, “Yes but is it actually going to go to social care. Also why not help all elderly people not just the ones who haven't worked, the ones who have claimed benefits all their lives and have been looked after all their lives. I don't mind paying extra as long as it goes to that and goes fairly to people. Also what about all the extra money this government was meant to get after brexit . Will dissappear just like that.”
David Booth responded saying that, “It was a Liberal and Labour policy, which is probably why many backbench Tories are against it. It actually makes some sense if taken in context with earnings. They need to set the threshold for paying it at a suitable level so that those on minimum wage don't pay it. No doubt they'll make a complete hash of it, as politicians are apt to do with everything.” Mel Machin responded to this comment without a single hint of sarcasm, “You are being generous? The Tory government support employers with a passion and will do everything to protect them including stopping any increase in NI contributions. The argument they have presented in trying to prevent young people and low income from being inflicted with a NI increase is pure smoke and mirrors?”
There were some who were incredibly sceptical of the whole idea, as was the case with Tom Stevens, who commented that “It’s almost as if at the last election, we had a genuine opposition party that promised to fund social care and tax the wealthy a little bit more. But no, that’s socialism.”
But not everyone agrees and feel that we all should contribute, regardless. As was the case with Yvonne Ellis-smith, who said; “NHS contributions are necessary to help fund care Covid has cost us dearly we need to help it get back on track we are lucky to have the NHS I've paid into it all my life I worked from being 15 to 62 and never begrudged a penny nothings free per cent is is fair”
And Caroline Bennett is of the opinion that any rise in contributions, “should be done at a different percentage depending on wage.”
There were some really heartfelt takes on the matter, certainly so in the case of Roger Jones, who commented “What sickens me I paid my INS from 15 till I retired at 65 Saved and struggled to by my own house so I could leave something to my family Wished I just got a council house then would not after pay for my care Its not fair when someone who have paid nothing into the countries health care can get everything free even them who came here just for the benefits”, his response garnered quite the approval with 21 thumbs up agreeing with his take. It was a plight shared by others who have found family members in the same situation, like Julie Bond who replied saying that; “we are having to sell my mother in laws bungalow to pay for her care as she’s got dementia and in a care home using up her savings.” And Karen Raymond added her thoughts, “yeah, us too. Not dementia, but had to go in a care home. She passed in March and at that time she was paying £2880 every 4 weeks. So something has to be done. And I also agree with other comments, people not paying a penny in but get everything out.”
Meanwhile, Brett Douglas kept his take on the matter to the point, “If our country is in crisis cut foreign aid. Problem solved”, a view that was at least partially shared by Mark Spencer, who added; “Scrap foreign aid all together and tax the big corporation's”. It is also important to note that the Conservative manifesto pledge was not to do this. However, they did choose to cut foreign aid contributions last year.
A possible solution was put forth by Lisa Rodber and she said; “1% is a lot to working class people… Tax the billionaire's building space rockets to play in...”
And Mike Burroughs added, “Surely all the money we are getting because of Brexit can pay for this? £350 million a week the bus said, didn’t it? Oh wait, they also promised no increases in deductions…”
Finally, Mark Peaker responded in a very colloquial way, “Clobber the Working Man/Woman yet again. Meanwhile the likes of Amazon avoid paying Millions in Tax. Sounds abart Reyt that duz!!!!”, a number of our readers gave this response the thumbs up.
Ultimately as it transpired, the government announced that National Insurance contributions would rise beginning in April 2022, not by the expected 1% but in fact it was 1.25%, something that will have an even bigger impact on many. If you’d like to know how much this could impact you, this is how much health and social care tax hike will cost taxpayers in Sheffield.
Thank you all for your contributions and opinions. As always, it is very much appreciated.