‘Almost half of Britons know little or nothing about National Insurance rise’

Respondents in a survey were close to being evenly split between those who support the tax rise and those who oppose it.

16 February 2022

Voters are split on the forthcoming National Insurance rise – but almost half know very little or nothing about the tax increase.

National Insurance contributions are due to go up by 1.25 percentage points in April as consumers face mounting cost-of-living pressures.

The tax rise will come on top of soaring energy bills and escalating UK inflation, which has hit a fresh 30-year high of 5.5%, it was announced on Wednesday.

But despite the National Insurance decision causing a row in Westminster, with some Conservative MPs calling on the Prime Minister to drop or at least postpone the increase, a survey has found that 31% of Britons do not know very much about the tax rise and 12% know nothing about it.

Only four in 10 rated their knowledge about the impending financial hit as “at least fair”, while just a tenth of those polled said they know a great deal about the change.

Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have stood firm on the Tory manifesto-breaking fiscal policy, which is predicted by the Treasury to raise £12 billion per year to help tackle the Covid-induced NHS backlog and reform social care in the long term.

In the study carried out by polling company Ipsos, 31% of Britons support the National Insurance increase – marginally more than the 28% who are in opposition.

A similar proportion, 31%, neither support nor oppose it.

The group who are most opposed are 35 to 54-year-olds, by 34% to 26%.

Those who voted Conservative in the 2019 general election are slightly in favour, by 34% to 27%, while those who voted Labour are marginally against, by 34% to 30%.

Labour has been a vocal critic of the policy and leader Sir Keir Starmer has said his party would act differently if in power.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have stuck by the decision to hike up national insurance
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have stuck by the decision to increase National Insurance to help tackle the NHS backlog and reform social care (Gareth Fuller/PA)

From April 6, employer and employee National Insurance contributions will be put up, with the rate going back to its 2021/22 level the following year, and the income stream replaced by a new health and social care levy of 1.25%.

The proposal is predicted to raise £12 billion annually but 40% of people surveyed said they think that will be too little for the NHS.

Only 14% said that amount is too much for the health service, while a third think it is “about the right amount”.

Trinh Tu, managing director of public affairs at Ipsos in the UK, said: “With the National Insurance rise due to take effect in April, Britons are still split over whether it is the right or the wrong decision.

“However, while we know there is much concern about the cost of living, many people also feel that even this extra increase won’t provide all the funding the NHS and our social care system needs.”

– The poll saw a representative sample of 1,050 British adults aged 16-75 interviewed online between February 4 and 5

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