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Boris Johnson refuses to rule out MORE tax hikes but insists he’s trying to save people from ‘financial ruin’

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BORIS Johnson today refused to rule out further tax raids after unveiling manifesto-busting hikes to pay for social care.

The PM raised both National Insurance and levies on shares by 1.25 per cent to lift the British tax burden to the highest in peacetime.

Reuters

The PM, Chancellor and Health Sec at a Downing Street briefing tonight[/caption]

Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street

The PM chaired Cabinet this morning to sign off the social care plan[/caption]

Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street

The Cabinet signed off on the plan this morning[/caption]

The National Insurance rise alone – which in 2023 will become a standalone “health and social care levy” – will cost the average high earner £14 more a week.

Mr Johnson, who for decades has championed low taxes, insisted increases were now needed to save pensioners from draining their life savings on crippling care costs.

At a Downing Street press conference he said: “We’re doing something that frankly should have been done a long time ago.

“And share the risk of these catastrophic care costs so that everyone is relieved from the vast fear of financial ruin.”

Asked if this would be his last tax rise, the PM offered an “emotional commitment” but refused a cast iron guarantee.

He said: “There’s a formality in these things which is that fiscal matters are reserved.

“These are decisions that the chancellor is making the course of his budgets and that’s quite proper.”

Rishi Sunak, who with Health Sec Sajid Javid flanked the PM, today confirmed an autumn Budget for October 27.

In key developments:

  • Pensioners still in work will also have to pay the 1.25 per cent uplift
  • Shareholder profits will be taxed to help swell the NHS budget
  • Cabinet agreed to the PM’s radical overhaul at an in-person meeting today
  • There will be an emergency vote on the plan in Parliament tomorrow
  • Tory MPs were anxious the manifesto-busting gambit could cost them at the ballot box
  • Matt Hancock spoke for the first time in the Commons since his lockdown-busting affair was revealed
  • Ministers were also poised to rip up the pensions triple lock
  • Rishi Sunak confirmed there will be an Autumn Budget on October 27

From 2023 elderly care costs will be capped at £86,000 over a lifetime – and then the Government will cover the rest of the bill .

Mr Johnson said this will help ease an “anxiety that affects millions of people up and down the country.

“The fear that a condition like dementia – nature’s bolt from the blue – could lead to the total liquidation of their assets, their lifetime savings, their home, the loss of everything that they might otherwise pass on to their children.”

But he is facing fury for hitting the wallets of poorer workers while wealthy retired pensioners don’t have to chip in.

The 1.25 per cent hike – that will become an entirely new “health and social care levy” from 2023 – could see people have to pay up to £13.75 a WEEK more.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “The Tories can never again claim to be the party of low tax.”

Respected IFS boss Paul Johnson said: “This is a huge year for tax rises: a permanent increase of 1.5 per cent of national income to highest in peacetime.”

Defending the two fresh taxes in the Commons, Mr Johnson said: “It will be irresponsible to meet the costs from higher borrowing and higher debt.

“So from next April we will create a new UK wide 1.25 per cent health and social care levy on earned income, hypothecated in law to health and social care with dividend rates increasing by the same amount.”

The 1.25 per cent rise in National Insurance will kick in for both employers and employees – so in essence a 2.5 per cent increase – from April 20 next year.

Someone on a £25,000 salary will stump up an extra £193 a year. Higher earners on £67,000 will pay £715 a year – or £13.75 a week.

In an earlier briefing Downing Street initially said it would cost £7.50 a week, before correcting themselves.

From April 2023 National Insurance will revert to their current rate – and the 1.25 per cent will appear as a standalone “health and social care levy” on people’s payslips.

Mr Johnson insisted the biggest earners will shoulder the biggest burden, with the top 14 per cent of earners footing half the costs.

The money raised will fund a £36billion health package over three years.

It will initially be used to tackle the enormous NHS backlog caused by axed appointments during lockdown.

But from October 2023 it will help fund the costs of social care by setting a cap on how much pensioners will be forced to pay.

Anyone with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 will receive help from the Government, which will be means tested.

CARE COST CAP

Nobody will ever pay more than £86,000 for social care costs over their lifetime. Anyone with assets under £20,000 will not pay anything.

Currently anyone with assets over £23,000 has to foot the entire cost of their care, such as nursing homes or visits that spiral into the tens of thousands.

The PM said: “A universal system of free care for all would be needlessly expensive when those who can afford to contribute to their care should instead. 

“The state should target itself, by protecting people against the catastrophic fear of losing everything, to pay for the cost of their care.”

The million Brits already in the social care system will not enjoy backdated handouts.

BORIS’ GAMBLE

He said the thorny issue of social care costs had been “ducked” by previous governments.

But raging Tory MPs fear a backlash from voters because the tax hike rips up a 2019 manifesto pledge.

Senior Conservative Richard Drax said: “As Conservatives, broken pledges and tax rises should concern us. Our finances are in a perilous state.

“Surely a radical review of the NHS is needed if this money is not going to disappear into another black hole. Does my right hon friend agree with me that the Conservative way is to lower taxes, not raise them?”

Justifying his huge political gamble, the PM said: “Yes, I accept that this breaks a manifesto commitment which is not something I do lightly.

“But a global pandemic was in no one’s manifesto. I think the people of this country understand that in their bones and they can see the enormous steps that this Government and the Treasury have taken.”

Mr Johnson will front a press conference with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid this afternoon.

Sky News

The PM, Chancellor and Health Sec at a press conference today[/caption]

Paul Edwards

The PM at a care home in East London earlier today[/caption]

Matt Hancock spoke for the first time in the Commons since quitting as Health Sec

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