Government piles National Insurance rise onto shoulders of the lowest paid

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Adam Powell-Davies, Oxford Socialist Party

The working class is already suffering from spiralling prices and stagnating wages, but there will be no let-up around the corner. The government plans to up National Insurance contributions from April – a measure they claim is to raise funds for the NHS. This will again hit the poorest, lowest-paid sections of the working class hardest.

The rise means that workers will pay 1.25p more per pound, representing a 10% increase for workers compared to last year and equivalent to hundreds of pounds. Naturally, that extra 1.25p will mean more to low-paid workers, especially as the price of everything else continues to soar.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have called the National Insurance rise ‘progressive’ on the grounds that higher earners will pay more. But these ‘higher earners’ also earn much more!

NHS funding should be provided by making the wealthy minority pay, not the working-class majority that is already struggling to make ends meet.

This means making big business pay for the NHS funding crisis. Look, for example, at private contractor Serco, which has made obscene profits off the back of public health while running a botched test-and-trace system. NHS workers currently employed by Serco in east London are striking against the company’s low pay.

April will also see the energy cap rise by over 50%, while councils across the country plan to raise council tax by the maximum, the non-referendum triggering rate of 1.99% in the same month. Combine this with continuing inflation, and it looks like everything is set to hit the working class all at once.

This makes it all the more important that socialists stand at the ballot box on behalf of working-class communities in May, as a fighting alternative to the pro-business policies of both the Tories and Starmer’s New Labour.

We say:

  • An immediate 15% pay rise for all health and care staff including those in privatised sectors. Minimum wage of £15 an hour. Scrap zero-hour contracts immediately
  • Reverse all privatisations. Scrap the Private Finance Initiative and Health and Social Care bill. Bring all outsourced workers and services in-house on permanent contracts
  • A fully publicly funded NHS and care system, free at the point of use. Scrap prescription charges in England, dental and all health charges
  • Nationalise the private health care sector, care homes, the medical supply industry and the pharmaceutical companies – integrate them into the NHS
  • Reinstate student bursaries and scrap tuition fees
  • We can’t trust pro-privatisation, pro-austerity, anti-working class politicians. Fight for the building of a new mass workers’ party
  • A socialist NHS – democratically run by elected and accountable committees including service workers and users
  • A socialist planned economy to end oppression, poverty and inequality