Health Secretary Sajid Javid has defended the government’s National Insurance hike, set to be rolled out from today.
The Bromsgrove MP told Sky News’ Breakfast programme earlier today that “it is right that we pay for what we are going to use”.
“Why is any of this necessary, whether it is for health or social care? It is because of the impact of the pandemic.
“We know it is unprecedented, it has been the biggest challenge in our lifetime and the impact of that is going to continue for many years,” he explained.
“You asked me about the fairness of it. When we spend money on public services, whether it is the NHS or anything else for that matter, the money can only come from two sources, it is either you raise it directly from people today, that is through taxes, or you borrow it which is essentially you are asking the next generation to pay for it.”
“I think it is right that we pay for what we are going to use as a country but we do it in a fair way and this levy, the way it is being raised is that the top 15 per cent of earners will pay almost 50 per cent and I think it is the right way to do this.”
The hike accompanies soaring energy prices and overall price inflation. Yesterday year-on-year inflation across the OECD area rose to 7.7 per cent in February 2022, reaching its highest rate since December 1990.
Quizzed by the broadcaster over the mounting cost of living, he dodged questions over whether he would have approached the situation in a different way to Rishi Sunak’s spring statement if he remained chancellor.
“Look, I am not chancellor,” he hit back, going on: “I am the health secretary and my job is to make sure that we are doing everything we can to recover from the pandemic when it comes to health and social care.
“But when it comes to the treasury and the chancellor and the support that has been provided, I think the focus is absolutely right.
“When it comes to the cost of living I don’t think anyone out there listening thinks that the government can mitigate a worldwide inflation crisis in every way for every single person. But what the government can do is support those that need it most.”
In a financial statement to the Commons last month, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a fuel levy cut of 5 pence per litre “for only the second time in 20 years” as well as a national income tax threshold rise of £3,000.
With “borrowing down and debt down, only the Conservative party can be trusted with taxpayers money”, the chancellor claimed.