Andrew Neil lambasts Labour’s hypocrisy over tax rise – ‘Did the exact same thing!’
Question Time: Andrew Neil calls for a social care reform 'plan'
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Earlier this month, Boris Johnson announced National Insurance would increase by 1.25 percentage points in a bid to fund social care and the NHS following the pandemic. During a conversation about the government’s increase of national insurance on BBC Question Time, the Ex-GB News chair commented on Labour’s hypocrisy and the unfairness of the National Insurance rise.
When asked whether he thought National Insurance was not a fair tax, Andrew Neil raised the argument that National Insurance had previously been raised under Gordon Brown’s Labour administration.
He said: “Not really. National Insurance starts way down the pay scale, it clicks in much lower than income tax does, so you are taxing those on already low income, around the minimum wage to raise the money, to spend back on them for the health service, so it is an unfair tax.
However, Andrew Neil highlighted Labour’s hypocrisy, he said: “Labour say it is an unfair tax, I don’t remember them saying that when Gordon Brown increased national insurance to pay for the NHS, because he did the exact same thing.”
“So it was unfair now, it must have been unfair then.”
“But the voices were quiet then.”
Gordon Brown raised National Insurance in 2002 which raised about £16 billion a year.
He added: “The honest thing to have done, if the country thinks it needs to spend more on health and social care, the honest thing would have been to have increased income tax, because it is a broadly based tax, and it comes in higher up the pay scale then national insurance.”
The former chair of GB News also spoke about the idea of a wealth tax, he said: “You could get a wealth tax and get a fair amount each year, I promise you by the second-year half of that would have gone, and you won’t get it because your tax payers would have left the country.”
James Heappey, junior Minister for the Armed Forces defended the government’s increase of National insurance to fund for social care.
During programme he said: “This has to be raised from one of the broad-based taxes, that’s income tax, VAT or National Insurance. National Insurance is probably the right one to use, it’s been used before, and crucially the top 14% of contributors will generate 50% of the funds raised.”
“It is not this idea that somehow this is reinforcing inequality, the reverse, those with the broadest shoulders will pay the majority.”
Mr Neil’s comments come in the wake of his resignation from chairing GB News this week.
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Andrew Neil was previously the editor of The Sunday Times from 1983 to 1994 and worked for the BBC for 25 years until 2020, hosting Sunday Politics and This Week on BBC One.
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