Boris Johnson faces a 100-strong Tory protest over his controversial £12bn social care program amid claims it could cost him the next election.
Former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith led the mounting protests last night against a ‘chaotic’ tax hike plan that has led the government to stray from true conservative values.
But party MPs in seats taken by Labor in the North and Midlands went on to call the National Insurance turnout a disaster that spelled ‘doom’ for the party in the next election.
One said privately: ‘This is a Red Wall tax in all but name and it is a gift to Labour.’
Fears stem from research by the TaxPayers’ Alliance that the new NI levy will disproportionately affect workers in the North and Midlands, as well as working people compared to retirees.
Former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith led the mounting protests last night against a ‘chaotic’ tax hike plan that has led the government to stray from true conservative values
Rebels now claim that there are as many as 100 Tory MPs in a so-called “clumsy squad” organizing against the plans. And they warned that in further votes on the plans this week, uprisings could surpass last week’s, where five Tories voted against and more than 35 abstained, despite warnings they could topple the government if the measure was rejected.
Senior Tory MP Marcus Fysh warned last night: “Without much greater explanations and concessions, the government will face a potentially much bigger uprising from the Tory banks this week.”
He called the tax hike plans “ill-considered” and added that the Tories had given up their “hard-earned” reputation as the low-tax party “at their own risk.” The group’s leaders will meet with Chancellor Rishi Sunak tomorrow, ahead of further votes on the NI proposals on Tuesday in a debate on the Health and Social Care Levy Bill.
In a hugely controversial move last week, the Prime Minister ordered Tory MPs to vote from April via a 1.25 per cent rise in NI, initially to raise £36bn over three years, mainly to cover Covid-related NHS waiting lists and then radical reforms to prevent people from having to sell their homes to fund social care.
Mr Johnson justified the move by insisting that his government will not “evade the tough decisions needed to give NHS patients the treatment they need and fix our broken social care system”.
Senior Tory MP Marcus Fysh (left) warned last night: ‘Without much greater explanation and concessions, the government will face a potentially much bigger uprising from the Tory banks this week’
But the rise of the NI — the breaking of a clear manifesto promise in the 2019 election manifesto that gave Mr Johnson an 80-strong majority in the House of Commons — has plunged his party into a bitter civil war and identity crisis. David Mellor, who served in Margaret Thatcher’s government, today criticizes Mr Johnson in the MoS for committing a “fundamental violation” of conservative principles.
There were also complaints that last week’s vote was won only because Tory “intimidated” new MPs into believing the measure amounted to a “vote of confidence” in Mr Johnson and that the government could fall if it was defeated.
And there was anger over claims that No. 10 had deliberately fueled rumors of a reshuffle to deter rebels hoping for a ministerial job or promotion.
Last night, party insiders said the prime minister may have made a “mistake” by not keeping last Thursday’s reshuffle as broad.
They warned Johnson ran the risk of becoming “the boy who howled the wolf” if reshuffles were debated endlessly without actually taking place.
However, a minister warned that Johnson “does not like to fire people” and knows that they “create more enemies and only make a handful of people happy”. No sooner had the government won last week’s vote than rumors of the uproar disappeared – only for some to predict it would now happen this week, once the health care tax bill passed the House of Commons.
Last night, another minister dismissed talk of another major uprising this week, claiming Tory rebels filed their protest last week and are unlikely to repeat.
MARCUS FYSH: Tories are the party of low taxes – we lose that reputation at our peril
By Tory MP Marcus Fysh
Marcus Fysh is Tory MP for Yeovil
The Prime Minister is to be commended for his energy and compassion in putting care for those who are struggling to care for themselves at the top of the national agenda.
But the ill-considered tax hike plans forced on Conservative MPs last week are deeply flawed and have deeply shaken the party.
The magnitude of the uprising in the House of Commons last week, with nearly 40 Tory MPs abstaining, was proof of that.
We have traditionally been the party of low taxes.
We drop that hard-earned reputation at our peril.
In recent days I have spoken with many other Tory MPs who share my deep concern about the approach the government is taking now.
And I must warn that without much greater explanation and concessions, the government will face a potentially much bigger revolt from the Tory banks when we vote this week on the full health and social care tax bill.
Of course, it is vital that we get our response to these challenges of social care reform.
But I think it’s risky to reach for big tax levers, as the broad pressure on people’s incomes and expenses could hinder the way they can help us get through them.
It could weigh on the tax revenue we need to grow rapidly to match demand for public services and repair our groaning balance sheet.
Turmoil housing law scrapped after backlash
The ministers will drop controversial changes to land-use laws that would have deprived homeowners of the right to object to new homes in their area.
Following a response from Tory MPs, reforms to build 300,000 houses a year by 2025 will be watered down, according to The Times.
In a consultation, the government proposed to tear up the planning application process and replace it with a zonal system that forces municipalities to meet mandatory building targets.
But the revision — the biggest shake-up of land-use laws in 70 years — has been met with strong opposition in rural areas. Tory MPs blamed it for the party’s defeat to the Lib Dems in the Chesham and Amersham by-elections in June.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick will reportedly scrap mandatory targets and the zonal system. Instead, municipalities will identify ‘growth locations’ with a presumption in favor of development, so that applications can be tracked more quickly. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: ‘We will not comment on speculation. Our response to the consultation will be announced in due course.’
We also need to actually restore social care and now have greater capacity to enable the NHS to discharge patients into the community, to rectify and eliminate backlogs. The current plan requires more work in that regard, and it would be fairer for the richest retirees, who sometimes have greatly appreciated assets and high retirement incomes that are no longer available to people of working age, to make more of a contribution to the needs of their outsized generation.
There is a way through, but it requires honest and clear thinking about the big picture, as well as practical detailed measures.
People think that national insurance premiums are about pooling resources to provide for the future, but in fact this has not been the case for a long time. Rather, they have been used once collected to pay current expenses for the “entitlements of the current year” and to obtain even more credit against future generations, in the form of debt.
Most Western governments have carried out such arguably Ponzi-esque schemes over the past few decades, pretending that everything was fine. It’s not.
Debt increasingly has to be bought up with central bank money to be affordable, and the purchasing power of the pound in most people’s wallets – unless they are lucky or have worked hard enough to have assets – continues to ebb.
In my opinion, we should look at the roots of the modern social construction and its radical and Christian traditions. to find inspiration for modern conservatism and indeed liberal social democracy to deal with this.
The philosophy, if not always the best execution, of responsible caring for each other stands before our eyes, in the early unions, the mutual and friendly associations, the cooperatives that Disraeli recognized as important innovations in helping each other and the young Churchill crossed the line. word to support while the Liberal government wanted to offer them national aid.
They have somehow pooled resources to take care of each other and themselves in the future, not by taking on debt, but by working together and investing.
So if we’re going to expand National Insurance now, let’s reform it so it really means what it says.
The most powerful weapon we have against the debt problem we have is the power to increase investment returns.
The modern digital world offers new ways to pool savings, investments, insurance and assistance for each other without intermediaries, counterparty or management risks and costs.
We must be resourceful in engaging or subsidizing these for social care, refunding any currently proposed additional charges to those who participate and being adequately provided for in such ways.
Above all, let’s make care for ourselves and our parents and grandparents cheap for those who can least afford it.
Marcus Fysh is a Tory MP for Yeovil.