‘Lots of concern’ Tory MP tells BBC Newsnight he will not back Boris’ NI tax hike

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Marcus Fysh, 50, told BBC Newsnight he would not support the Prime Minister’s proposed tax hike to fund social care. The MP for Yeovil also claimed many of his Conservative colleagues were concerned about the increase as it would break a central pillar of the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto commitment not to increase taxes.

Mr Fysh said: “There is a lot of concern – I must say – in the party from people I have been speaking to on all sides about what this means and I think there is discomfort that we will break a manifesto pledge.”

The Brexit-backing MP was then asked by Emily Maitlis about the Conservatives’ break away from their commitment to maintain foreign aid.

Fysh replied: “Well, this was one of the key pledges on the Prime Minister’s letter to every constituent.”

In the 2019 manifesto, Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party pledged “not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance”.

The Somerset-based MP went on to claim he did not want to vote for Johnson’s proposed increase in national insurance contributions.

When asked to clarify his position, Fysh said: “I’m not going to vote for it.”

“I don’t think it is the right thing to do,” he added.

“I don’t think it is the right thing to burden the younger generation with the cost that should more rightly be borne for the current costs of social care by the older one.”

Research from the Resolution Foundation concluded an increase could see a 21-year-old earning £20,000 per year cough up an additional £104 in tax but that a 66-year-old who takes home £50,000 per year would pay no more money in taxes.

Vice-Chair of the Tory Party’s 1922 Committee, Charles Walker, has also suggested the elderly foot the bill.

He told the BBC: “I think many youngsters have paid enough as a result of this pandemic.”

Walker added it could be better for older people to buy their own insurance policies or for the Government to introduce a “much more targeted national insurance increase”.

Despite several Conservative MPs coming out in opposition to an increase to national insurance, opinion poll data suggests a majority of Tory Party voters support the Prime Minister’s increase.

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In reply, Mr Fysh said: “I don’t accept those figures, I don’t know where they’re from.”

One Tory grandee even told the BBC: “We are no longer a Conservative Government.”

After hearing the thoughts of Labour’s Barbara Keeley, Fysh suggested parties needed to come together to solve the social care crisis.

“I would like to get together and make a plan with the other parties, that would be great,” he said.

But Tim Pitt, an ex-adviser to Number 11, told the BBC a raid on national insurance contributions is the only way to fund social care.

Pitt said: “For those who are saying national insurance isn’t the perfect way to do this, I think there is a danger of letting the great be the enemy of the good.

“Ultimately, if you want more money for social care on a permanent basis, everyone’s agreed you need to raise tax to pay for that.”

The ex-adviser added if the Government tried to introduce this levy by increasing income tax it would lead to U-turns and claimed “the loser would ultimately be social care and the NHS”.

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