Tory party split over huge NI tax rise – It is time for the trade unions to defend workers living standards with a general strike


THE TORY government is being ripped apart from top to bottom, with every day bringing new reports of ministers fighting amongst themselves in a desperate attempt to cling on to power.

The latest row which is splitting the Tory leadership, is over the 1.5% increase in National Insurance Contributions (NI) announced last September by chancellor Rishi Sunak and due to take effect in April.

This tax increase, promoted by the Tories as necessary to raise £12 billion to fund the NHS and social care, will hit every worker and their families with the average worker paying an extra £255 a year in taxes.

This massive increase in taxing workers and young people comes as inflation is rising to over 7% – with sharp increases in food, rents and energy bills that will drive millions into extreme poverty and destitution.

Apart from the fact that this £12 billion is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions of cuts made by the Tories to the NHS and the underfunded social care system, it is also clear that while low paid workers and youth are bearing the cost of this tax increase, the wealthy are escaping with their wallets untouched.

NI is only paid on earnings – not on actual wealth derived from shares or rents or inherited wealth.

There is growing clamour amongst Tory backbenchers for Johnson to drop the NI increase, to divert the anger of the working class and prove that the Tories really do ‘feel their pain.’

Johnson is reported to be tempted to make a populist U-turn on NI but he is being blocked by Sunak.

According to the Daily Telegraph, ‘the chancellor appears in no mood to throw a spending lifeline to his struggling neighbour.’ Sunak, who announced the NI increase last year, is now blaming it on Johnson, with the press reporting he is now referring to the tax increase as ‘the prime minister’s tax’.

Sunak may be trying to distance himself from NI increase but at the same time he is blocking any attempt to stop it. This is not just to inflict damage on Johnson, but because official figures reveal that the increase in interest rates to combat inflation has massively increased the interest repayments the government has to make on the huge national debt of £2.3 trillion.

In just one-month, last December, the Treasury had to find a massive £8.1 billion in interest on this debt – £3 billion more than had been predicted.

The Telegraph notes that ‘While critics – and families facing mounting bills – may oppose raising taxes, Sunak is concerned the interest pain is only just beginning.’

This is correct, with interest rates being driven up as inflation spirals out of control, British capitalism is facing bankruptcy as it struggles to find the money to meet debt repayments.

Sunak is determined to slash the national debt by cutting public spending while extracting the maximum amount of financial pain from workers.

For the capitalist class, the time for Johnson’s buffoonery and populist ‘levelling-up’ nonsense is over, and the time has come for a government to carry out a class war to crush the working class and drive it into the ground to keep capitalism from drowning in debt, run up bailing out the bankers and bosses.

For the working class, the time has come to put an end to all the ‘begging the Tories for relief’ from this pain that comes from the TUC, and for workers to prepare for a struggle to take power and end, not just the Tories, but to continue to overthrow this bankrupt capitalist system.

This means throwing out the old leadership of the unions that refuses to fight and replace it with a new leadership prepared to mobilise workers and youth in a general strike to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers government.

A workers government will expropriate the bosses and bankers and bring in a socialist planned economy to meet the needs of every worker and young person.

Only the WRP and Young Socialists fight for this policy and are building the revolutionary leadership to put an end to capitalism through the victory of the world socialist revolution. Join us today!