If Keir Starmer had asked a panel of left-wing economists to advise him on what Labour’s policy on the NHS, social care and tax should be, they would have come up with something remarkably similar to the announcement made by the prime minister today.
Boris Johnson’s ideologically flexible plan is even more “Labour” than the changes made by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in 2002, when they put up national insurance to pay for the NHS – laying the foundations for the health service being the best it has ever been by 2010. Unlike that tax rise, today’s plan extends the new levy to working pensioners who don’t currently pay national insurance contributions.
The new “health and social care levy” is not as fair as it could be, because it won’t be applied to rental income or to capital gains, but taxing people above the state pension age, many of whom are highly paid, meets one of the main objections to the use of national insurance rather than income tax.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies