UK

Tories' Warnings About Labour Raising National Insurance Return To Haunt Them After Budget 2017

Red Ed is back.

08/03/2017 18:59 GMT

Philip Hammond’s Budget broke a Tory election pledge to not raise National Insurance contributions, something they warned would “cost jobs and hit hardworking taxpayers”.

And unfortunately for them, the internet remembered and the scores of warnings from 2015 about how Labour might raise it if they were elected.

In the run-up to the General Election, when the polls appeared to be balanced, David Cameron’s Conservatives emphasised the economy and Labour’s refusal to rule out raising National Insurance.

“Why won’t Ed Miliband rule out raising National insurance contributions? Labour always put up the Jobs Tax,” Cameron tweeted. 

On Wednesday, Hammond did just that by abolishing the lower National Insurance contributions paid by self-employed people.

Ed Miliband, whose face adorned the Tory warnings about what Labour would do, remembered what Cameron had said.

Cameron’s 2015 tweet followed a moment in the last Prime Minister’s Questions before the election, in which the PM challenged Miliband to rule out raising National Insurance.

When the Labour leader didn’t, MPs like James Cleverly tweeted a graphic of Miliband in red, warning about his rise in National Insurance if won Downing Street.

This became a recurring motif of Tory campaigning, with the party’s head office saying “#SameOldLabour” would have to raise NI to fund its plans for the economy.

And George Osborne, the then-Chancellor, reiterated the pledge with barely a week until polling day. 

But the former Chancellor sounded relaxed about this pledge being broken, tweeting his successor: “Well done Phil. Sound money and fiscal responsibility are the only secure foundations of a fair and strong economy.”

How times change.