THE best you might say for Boris’s tax grab on hardworking Sun readers is that at least he’s trying.
After decades of Tory and Labour ducking and diving, a Prime Minister is finally prepared to bite the bullet, grasp the nettle and spend untold billions on the NHS and social care.
There were times yesterday when Chancellor Rishi Sunak, an instinctively low-tax Tory, looked grim-faced as he sat next to the free-spending Boris[/caption]
But what will the cash-guzzling NHS — already one of the Western world’s biggest employer — do in return?
Will it cut bureaucracy, slash costs and make sure every pound of the extra billions is wisely spent?
Or will it devour ever more money, while failing to meet the challenges of modern healthcare?
How will low and middle earners, hit by a tax hike of up to £10 a week, feel about helping the richest with a care home subsidy worth £80,000 a head.
Boris has taken a huge personal risk by breaking his key election manifesto promise not to raise tax.
If it backfires, it will be his political epitaph.
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As Whitehall mandarins like to say to foolhardy political leaders: “Very courageous, Prime Minister.”
There were times yesterday when Chancellor Rishi Sunak, an instinctively low-tax Tory, looked grim-faced as he sat next to the free-spending Boris.
And little wonder. He had no choice but to loyally stick by the PM but will know better than anyone the gamble his boss has just taken.
As night follows day, Boris’s sensational blank-cheque gamble will come back to bite him.
He has learned nothing from the example of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who tried the same dodge 20 years ago with their disastrous 1p Health Tax.
Billions were syphoned off in gold-plated managerial pay rises and extra money for doctors to do less. Today, some GPs won’t even accept face-to-face appointments.
Boris won the last election on a specific vow not to raise income tax, NI contributions nor VAT.
Breaking that pledge will inevitably backfire on the Tories as voters realise they have been bilked again.
He has learned nothing from the example of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who tried the same dodge 20 years ago with their disastrous 1p Health Tax
Right now, the polls are overwhelmingly in favour.
The British public worships the NHS because at its best — acute medical care — it is world class.
But it is a cash-hungry monster which, as the GPs’ no-show crisis demonstrates, often fails those who need it most
And, Boris, it won’t be the NHS that gets the blame. It will be YOU.
Yes, Britain’s clapped-out social care system is on its knees — a dumping ground for NHS “bed blockers” — and in desperate need of help.
But it is sleight of hand to solely blame Covid for broken tax promises.
The threat of a global respiratory virus has topped the list of health threats since Sars first swept the planet 20 years ago.
Yet when Covid arrived in 2020, our health authorities were caught flat-footed, obsessed instead with winter flu, obesity and diversity.
The NHS wasn’t ready so, tragically, dumped infected patients in care homes, where thousands died as a result.
A panic-stricken government then hosed cash at Covid like drunken sailors, landing us with the £407BILLION bill now facing taxpayers.
Boris is now asking those same taxpayers to stump up billions to bail out the NHS.
Respected economist Paul Johnson says tax hikes will drain the economy of £12billion a year, on top of the £25billion announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s earlier budget.
Boris is now asking those same taxpayers to stump up billions to bail out the NHS
He says: “This is a huge year for tax rises, a permanent increase of 1.5 per cent of national income — the highest in peace time.”
The lion’s share of this tsunami will go to the NHS for the first three years in the faint hope of making it more efficient. Then it will be diverted to social care.
But there is a snag.
There is no known plan for this efficiency drive. The cash is certain to be soaked up by the sponge-like NHS bureaucracy.
Any attempt to shift the money away will be met with howls of outrage by shroud-waving unions and the British Medical Association.
Former Chancellor Gordon Brown tried to slay this dragon. “Not a penny without reform,” he insisted.
But the “pennies” were spent by the truckload. And his own closest advisers now admit reform never materialised. Care homes will remain the poor relation.
We will continue forking out ever larger slices of cake to this sacred cow.
Meanwhile, the poorest will pay the most to help the richest, just as inflation and the basic cost of living begins to take off at their expense.
The National Insurance hikes will hammer White Van Man, Red Wall voters and Sun readers just as they are being ordered to pay more to go green.
Their hard-earned pay will be supporting many who are better off than they are — just as jobs dry up as firms save money by cutting their workforces.
The idea that grateful voters will reward Boris by voting Tory may well prove to be a laughable triumph of hope over long and bitter experience.
Boris has taken a huge personal risk by breaking his key election manifesto promise not to raise tax[/caption]