UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson aims to make good on an election pledge to address the skyrocketing expense of long-term care needed by the country’s ageing population on Tuesday. In order to do so, he appears to be breaking yet another election promise: not to raise taxes.
Johnson is set to inform Parliament how his Conservative government would raise billions to finance the care millions of Britons need in the latter years of their lives.
Individuals are now bearing the brunt of this cost, with many having to empty their savings or sell their houses in order to pay for care. According to the government, one in every seven persons pays more than 100,000 pounds (USD 138,000) for health care, which it describes as “catastrophic and frequently unexpected.” Meanwhile, providing care for the poor who cannot pay is putting an increasing strain on already overburdened municipal governments.
Johnson has kept his plans under wraps until Tuesday morning when he will reveal them to the Cabinet before making a speech in the House of Commons. However, the prime minister stated late Monday that he will not avoid making the difficult decisions that are required. He is likely to propose a rise in working-age people’s National Insurance contributions to help support care and the wider National Health Service, which has been severely strained by the coronavirus outbreak.
This would be a violation of Johnson’s explicit commitment in his 2019 election campaign not to raise personal taxes.
Politicians are no strangers to breaking promises, but those made in election manifestos in the United Kingdom have traditionally been regarded as binding on governments. Many Conservative MPs are concerned about Johnson’s alleged proposal because it implies violating a solid election pledge and because the burden would fall on working-age people rather than pensioners.
British governments have been thwarted in their attempts to overhaul the healthcare system. Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, ran for Prime Minister in 2017 on a promise to slash retiree benefits and modify the way they pay for long-term care. Opponents instantly called the plan a dementia tax, and May’s majority in Parliament was slashed.