[Today’s post is a bit of a political rant – please feel free to skip it if that sort of thing doesn’t interest you].
In 2015 the Tory Party manifesto contained a promise not to raise income tax, national insurance contributions or value added tax (VAT). At the time I can remember saying to my then colleagues that it was a stupid promise, (effectively blocking the three main ways a government can raise money at significant levels) and that I doubted that they would be able to keep that promise.
On Wednesday they broke that manifesto promise and raised NI contributions for the self employed. [Full Disclosure: I am self employed and therefore this will effect me directly]. Now there has been significant claim and counterclaim that they haven’t broken a manifesto pledge because it wasn’t what the legislation said; but I’m sorry – liar, liar, pants on fire. A manifesto pledge is made before an election, the legislation is enacted afterwards (assuming that you get in government). So actually the promise was broken when the legislation was laid and not last Wednesday then, wasn’t it, the manifesto pledge did not distinguish between employees and the self-employed, whatever your subsequent claim it is you manifesto pledge that you have broken.
As the proposal further unravelled we’ve now seen the Prime Minister back pedal and say that this won’t be legislated on until the autumn and not now (probably because there are sufficient Tory backbenchers who would vote against it, and the government would loose the vote), presumably in a hope that it will be forgotten about by then, and it can be sneaked through.
Regardless of all of this, I actually think that NI should be raised – across the board. We have a Tory government and once again we see that Education, Public Services, especially adult social care, and the NHS are completely f***ed (remember when we were last in this situation? Well it was a Tory government then too).
Austerity (or budget cuts) have been the mantra of the Tories since 2010 – the first five years they had their Lib Dem glove puppets to hide behind (bad news send out a junior Lib Dem minister), who got their reward in 2015, and lost nearly all their parliamentary seats. Coupled with buying off (one-off grants to) local authorities not to raise Council Tax (until now when the horse has finally bolted and now a 5% rise means a lot less than a year on year rise of 1% over the past five years would have) and in some cases buying off local authorities in order to prevent them embarrassing the government (Surrey County Council), this Country’s finances and public services are firmly in the toilet.
So actually put 1% on NI across the board or if you want to “even things up” 1% on employees and 2% on the self-employed, I really don’t care about your manifesto pledge (you’ve always been a bunch of liars, so you don’t change your spots overnight anyway), which was a stupid promise in the first place – just try being honest. You’re in government and need to sort out the mess that you’ve created. Austerity (cuts) do not work, and they never have, so now that the chickens are coming home to roost, how about having an honest conversation with the country and asking them what they actually want, and not what you think is important and while you’re at it what about some of those other stupid promises? Do we need HS2 (to save 20 to 30 minutes travel time) or could we spend that money better some place else? Do we need two (or three) new nuclear power stations, when there are better renewable alternatives, and spend the difference some place else.
FFS – have an honest conversation with the Country and stop pretending that we don’t have an opinion or a view, and only what you think counts.