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National Insurance: Students Paying for Retired Millionaires

Comment Editor Samuel Pennifolf on the Conservatives manifesto breaking move to raise national insurance.  

When the Conservatives voted to raise National Insurance they broke a manifesto promise that was key to gaining support from working-class votes in the last election, a perfect demonstration of the contempt that the Conservatives seem to hold for the electorate and those who need the support of the state the most. 

Social care is the third rail of politics, a black hole in governments budgets across the world, but some would argue the provision of social care is the most important if not the only function of the state. It is a fact that before the vote to raise national insurance there was no way social care in this country would be able to continue, some credit may be given to Boris Johnson for taking a bold and unpopular step – a mark of great statesmen even. This though is far from the case.

Boris Johnson is a fraud, a clown masquerading as a statesman, who as we have seen time and time again through the Coronavirus pandemic is prone to producing policy on the hoof often without consultation. That is exactly what this policy is and is exactly the reason why young MP Dehenna Davison, the first conservative MP from Bishop Aukland near Durham, as well as other members of the conservative party, decided to abstain from the vote as it was rushed through the house without time for consultation with constituents.

But the vote still passed with the vast majority the Conservatives maintain in the commons. Even though there was not enough time for a full consultation with voters there was more than enough time for the young and the enraged to speak out against the bill on social media. With journalists, celebrities and everyday people speaking out against the bill that disproportionately affects the young, especially university graduates, as well as those on low-income wages including nurses who have been the everyday heroes of the last two years.

UK graduates will now face a 50% tax rate between national income, student loan repayments and income tax on all pay above £30,000 a year. This rate is higher than some millionaires pay and infinitely higher than retired boomers pay whilst they sit in their empty four-bedroom houses bemoaning the price rise in TV licenses and shaking their free bus passes angrily. 

Such a tax rate takes the dream of homeownership for our generation even further out of reach as house prices have risen exponentially whilst the average wage of a graduate has only risen marginally and significantly below the rate of inflation.

This rise in National Insurance only compounds further such poverty enforcing policies as the recent reduction in universal credit. 

This move by Boris Johnson is a move that only pleases a small minority of homeowners, the retired and the old whilst stripping the young of their income. This rise is both politically unsustainable and ultimately it will fail to help the Conservatives maintain power ad they claim to fix the whole in social care spending. The better model would be to produce a fairer and higher tax system that evens out the cost of supporting the state across everyone in a manner that is proportional to income. But whilst Johnsons will break promises to those he does not care about he dare not hurt his precious rich voters. 


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