Only 10 Tory MPs rebelled against the government’s introduction of an anti-manifesto tax hike to fund welfare reforms and the NHS backlog caused by Covid.
The 1.25 percentage point hike in national insurance for workers and employers was announced last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a way to raise £ 12 billion. The “health and social care tax” bill was introduced on Tuesday and was rushed through the Commons in a single day.
One of the rebels, John Baron, urged ministers not to “raise taxes on jobs inefficiently and risk stifling an economic recovery.”
He told the Commons: “I reiterate the concern many of us have that today, in a rush, we are discussing very important legislation that will introduce a massive tax increase – larger than that of some budgets – and yet we do not have details of proposed social protection reforms. This is not the way to do business here.
“In my 20 years of experience here, when we made hasty decisions, like we are doing today – the measure was only announced last week – it often increased the risk big mistakes.
“I know frontline ministers are not listening, but I ask them, even at this late stage, to consider allowing more time to consider this important issue. If we don’t know the details of what’s on offer, how the hell do we know how much money to raise for it? “
The other nine Conservatives who opposed the bill in its final stages were Philip Davies and Esther McVey – both members of the Conservative blue-collar group – as well as Ben Everitt, Marcus Fysh, Craig Mackinlay and the new ‘Wall MP’. red ”Dehenna Davison. Longtime Tory MPs Sir Christopher Chope, Richard Drax and John Redwood have also rebelled against the new tax. There were 44 Tories who abstained, although some were ministers who would have been allowed to skip the vote due to other government business.
Although the government fears a mass Conservative rebellion – and some concern even within the cabinet – only five MPs opposed the move in a vote last week that allowed the new bill to be introduced.
Steve Barclay, the chief secretary of the treasury, insisted the tax would raise funds in a ‘responsible and fair manner’ and said it would tackle the NHS backlog and put social care for adults “on a long-term sustainable basis, and would put an end to the situation in which those who need help in their old age risk losing everything to pay for it”.