'Unnecessary rise' in National Insurance slammed

Unite GS Sharon Graham: Government should tax ‘vast profits piled up by the pandemic profiteers and energy producers’

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On the day that National Insurance is hiked by 1.25 per cent for millions of workers today (April 6), Unite has reiterated its call for the government to tax the “profits piled up by pandemic profiteers” and use this cash to help people meet rising living costs.

The National Insurance increase was met with dismay by millions of workers who are already being pummelled by the skyrocketing cost of living.

From today, employees will pay 13.25 per cent in National insurance contributions on income up to £50,270 and an additional 3.25 per cent on any income above this threshold.  Meanwhile, before the tax hike went in to affect today (April 6), employees were previously paying 12 per cent in NICs above £50,270 and 2 per cent on any income above.

The Tory government, which has broken its promise to freeze National Insurance, a pledge it made in its most recent manifesto, has sought to shield the lowest-paid from the tax hike by increasing the threshold at which workers begin having to pay National Insurance.

But this change in threshold, from just under £10,000 to £12,500, doesn’t come into effect until July, so for at least three months, the vast majority of workers will see an increase in their National Insurance contributions.

The Resolution Foundation think tank estimated that the National Insurance hike, coupled with increases in the cost of living, will mean that the average household will be at least 4 per cent worse off – or £1,100 – in 2022/23.

The government has justified the increase in National Insurance by saying the money raised from the hike will go to health and social care, but as Unite has pointed out, huge profits are being left untouched and workers are being left to unfairly bear the burden.  

Commenting, Unite’s general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Once again working people are being made to pay for the bad decisions of those in power. Workers and their families are hurting now, hit by rocketing inflation. Some are worrying whether they can afford to heat and eat.

“So why has the government ploughed ahead with an unnecessary rise in National Insurance? Why isn’t it taxing the vast profits piled up by the pandemic profiteers and energy producers who are awash with cash? Unite’s commission on profiteering will shine a spotlight on those who should really be targeted by the Treasury,” she added.

“Workers did not create this crisis – and politicians have no business making them pay for it.”

In March Unite, which has accused the government of ‘tinkering on the edges of the cost of living crisis’, announced that it was establishing a commission on profiteering to claw back the huge wealth pocketed by business during the pandemic and energy crises.

By UniteLive team

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