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No to an increase in NI contributions to fund the NHS

National Health Action Party Press Release 30 August 2016

Dr Paul Hobday, leader of the National Health Action Party, has made the following statement in response to ex-health minister Dan Poulter’s suggestion of an increase in NI contributions to fund the NHS.

“This idea turns up like a bad penny with monotonous regularity. When the government proposes an expensive project disliked by large sections of the public, such as Trident, HS2 or Hinkley Point, they emphasise its economic value. No mention of 1p taxes or increased NI. But the far more efficient boost to the economy that comes from the NHS, estimated to be £4 for every £1 spent, is routinely ignored.

The National Health Action Party will continue to oppose this most socially regressive idea, which hits workers who rely on wages hardest. It harms lower earners disproportionately because the level of salary on which workers have to pay National Insurance is capped by the Upper Earnings Limit (UEL), so very high earners do not pay contributions on their full salaries.

It's yet another way to transfer the costs of universal healthcare from the wealthiest in society to the poorest, even though everyone benefits from it.

There was also a Conservative commitment on tax specifically that there would be no rise in income tax rates, VAT or national insurance before 2020. That's one pledge that could be applied to the NHS, unlike Jeremy Hunt's unworkable and dangerous '24/7 NHS'.

The government should be addressing the problem of tax avoidance. Even if HMRC collected only portion of this money, it would be more than enough to fund the NHS and to properly fund Social Care with a cap on costs to the individual.

Theresa May has, in fact, said her government would not only collect unpaid taxes from corporations and wealthy individuals who illegally evade taxes or use legal tax avoidance schemes to exploit loopholes and reduce their bills, but also would impose fines on tax planners, advisers and accountants to target those who promote the avoidance schemes.

Tackling tax avoidance and those who abet them is a commitment the NHA would like to see all governments abide by. Far better than the looped call for 'more NI for the NHS'.”

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