Scottish taxpayers face being “shafted” by Boris Johnson’s plans to impose a National Insurance hike on millions to fix the crisis in care for elderly in England, the SNP has declared.
The Prime Minister is preparing to announce a manifesto-busting hike of 1.25 per cent on Tuesday which aims to raise around £10 billion a year for social care and the NHS.
Labour’s Keir Starmer has ruled out backing a controversial National Insurance rise which will see younger workers and low earners across the UK paying for the care of the elderly in England.
While there is likely to an equivalent increase in the Scottish block grant from the UK Treasury to offset the rise there is no clarity on how the UK-wide tax would be redistributed to devolved governments.
Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster leader, has accused Johnson of imposing a “new Tory poll tax on Scotland” in an attempt to provoke the same level of revulsion and unfairness felt when Margaret Thatcher introducing the community charge first in Scotland.
Because National Insurance is a tax reserved to Westminster people across the whole UK will pay any increase despite Scotland having different income tax bands under the control of Holyrood.
Blackford has written to Johnson ahead of an expected parliamentary statement on Tuesday warning a “new Tory poll tax on Scotland” would penalise Scottish families by landing them with the bill to fix a crisis in England.
Blackford said: “Boris Johnson must ditch his damaging Tory tax hike, which would unfairly penalise Scottish families by forcing them to pay the bill for the Westminster social care crisis in England.
“Yet again, Scotland is being shafted with a new Tory poll tax being imposed against our will. Scottish families are already being hit hard by the £1040 Tory cuts to Universal Credit and the long-term economic damage of Brexit – they must not be forced to pay hundreds of pounds more each year for Tory failure.
“If Boris Johnson breaks yet another manifesto pledge, the Tories will descend even further into irrelevance in Scotland.”
Ahead of the expected announcement the Prime Minister said the increase would produce a “fair, reasonable and necessary plan” to ensure the NHS and social care system in England were resourced.
He said: “The NHS is the pride of our United Kingdom, but it has been put under enormous strain by the pandemic. We cannot expect it to recover alone.”
Johnson added: “We must act now to ensure the health and care system has the long term funding it needs to continue fighting COVID and start tackling the backlogs, and end the injustice of catastrophic costs for social care.”
“My government will not duck the tough decisions needed to get NHS patients the treatment they need and to fix our broken social care system.”