Northern support for Tories will 'evaporate' with National Insurance rise, warns David Davis

Northern support for the Conservatives will “evaporate” if the Government pushes ahead with a National Insurance rise in April, Yorkshire MP David Davis has warned.

The former Brexit Secretary who is MP for Haltemprice and Howden told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the proposed increase of 1.25 percentage points, which is designed to help pay for long-term social care reforms, should be scrapped in the face of rising cost of living pressures.

Mr Davis said: “At the last election, one of the things that would come up on every doorstep I went to in all the Northern seats around me was Jeremy Corbyn is going to put taxes up, therefore I’m going to vote for you.

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“What are we going to do? Put taxes up. What do you think is going to happen?

David Davis is calling for Boris Johnson to announce a u-turn on April's National Insurance rise.David Davis is calling for Boris Johnson to announce a u-turn on April's National Insurance rise.
David Davis is calling for Boris Johnson to announce a u-turn on April's National Insurance rise.

“Those votes are going to evaporate. So for our own political interest, but more importantly for the national interest, we should keep taxes down.”

Mr Davis, who last week called for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign over his handling of the partygate allegations, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the National Insurance rise would remove about 10 per cent of the disposable income of “ordinary families” and was based on the “wrong data”.

He argued that the rise was “economically unwise” because it created a “disincentive to work”, would “penalise employers” and “hit the growth of the whole economy”, meaning it would be unlikely to raise the £36bn forecast by the Treasury.

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Other senior Conservatives have made similar arguments for a U-turn on the tax rise.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg is understood to have called for the move – which is designed to pay for long-term social care reforms – to be abandoned, while former Brexit tsar Lord Frost quit his role at the tail end of last year in protest at Government tax increases.

Official figures published last week showed that inflation soared to a near 30-year high of 5.4 per cent in December, while an energy price cap rise in spring is set to stretch household budgets further.

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But Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said the country would not be “doing ourselves any favours in delaying” the National Insurance increase as he defended the decision to put the tax up in April – a move which broke a Conservative 2019 election manifesto pledge.

Mr Zahawi said the impact of the policy would be reviewed but insisted it remains the “right thing to do” in order to solve the social care crisis and to reduce the NHS backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is really important to remember that the highest earners, the 14 per cent who earn the most are paying 50 per cent – they are paying half of that contribution, and the lowest earners, 6.1 million of the lowest earners pay nothing, so it is as progressive as we can make it to deal with a problem that breaks many an individual in their old age.”

He said the funding that will be raised will help create a “sustainable and deliverable” adult social care system.

Davis yet to decide on no confidence letter

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David Davis is yet to be submit a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson, despite calling for the Prime Minister to resign last week.

Mr Davis said he will wait for the outcome of the Sue Gray report before making his final decision on whether the Prime Minister should resign but was “pretty likely” to submit a letter.

He said: “I like Boris, I’ve known him for 30 years, but the truth is we’re now into an issue of trust. I don’t think any of the proposed people (to replace him as Prime Minister) I’ve seen in the papers have a trust issue.”

He said he would decide within a week of the Gray report.

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