MP for Gedling, Tom Randall, has suggested to Gedling Eye columnist and writer Adam Toms that further tax rises cannot be ruled out as the Government tackles “big issues” caused by the pandemic.
Echoing the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in recent months, Mr Randall said: “I’m for cutting taxes but it’s been a tough period and we have to tackle big issues like social care.
“There is going to be a cost to that and that will have to be financed.
“This might not be popular, no tax rise is popular, but we have to get it right. It can’t be avoided any longer.
“Social care is that big issue that needs to be tackled. It is an issue that past governments haven’t tackled.”
When asked if there may be further rise to Gedling residents’ National Insurance contributions, he added: “There is a backlog to tackle. I accept that.
“That’s why the money has been allocated in the way it has so it goes to social care. I’m confident of this.
“I’m not the chancellor of the exchequer. I don’t have all the treasury modelling.
“The levy [National Insurance] will affect people, but there are exemptions to that.
“For example, class two or three won’t pay and the richest will be paying the lion’s share.”
National Insurance classes are dependent on peoples’ annual earnings.
Those employed by an employer can choose to pay National Insurance contributions to fill or avoid gaps in their National Insurance record.
Those in Class 2 who are self-employed and earning profits of £6,515 or more a year have to pay National Insurance contributions.
Class 3 workers’ contributions are entirely voluntary.
People have to pay contributions, however, to be eligible for state pensions and Government benefits.
In September, the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “The levy will result in poorer workers paying a higher proportion of their income in national insurance.
“For poorer non-retired households, national insurance would rise from 7.22 per cent to 7.93 per centof their gross income, compared to richer ones who would see a rise from 4.72 per cent to 5.21 per cent.”
When asked about whether now, with inflation, rising energy prices, and probable future tax rises, was the good time to cut back Universal Credit to pre-pandemic levels, Mr Randall said: “Decisions that the Government make are never easy. I get that.
“That was always a temporary rise, a Covid specific response.
“We are now sort of coming out of Covid and measures are being removed.
“The rise was always going to have a date on which it ended and we’re getting to that.
“There is support out there for people struggling such as the Household Support Fund to help pay peoples’ bills in winter.
“£5.5m has also been allocated to Nottinghamshire which will mitigate peoples’ issues.”
Regarding potential winter restrictions to combat a rise in cases of the flu and Covid-19, Mr Randall said: “I would support winter Covid restrictions if something were necessary.”
Not being drawn on the details of said “necessary” conditions, he added: “I’d be in favour of action that keeps as much of the economy and society open as much as possible.
“We value it more now we’ve sort of got back to normal.
“For example, going to the pub, restaurant, mixing with other people.
“We must protect as much of this as we can. That interaction is important for us as people”.
Mr Randall said he received “regular updates from hospitals describing ICU and patient numbers”.
“I also get the odd e-mail from a minority of people saying there isn’t a problem, that Covid isn’t an issue.
“I say to them, “you should be on my call. If you had heard the figures, you’d understand the measures we’ve taken”.
He suggested that “there will have to be an assessment as to where the point of further restrictions would be”.
The Prime Minister said Covid-19 still presented a risk when outlining his winter plan in September.
He outlined a ‘Plan A’ and a ‘Plan B’.
Plan A includes protection from vaccines, maintenance of Test, Trace and Isolate, public advice, and aiming to help “vaccinate the world”.
The plan also says that “a Plan B[…] would only be enacted if the data suggests further measures are necessary to protect the NHS”.
The Government has not so far defined what the hospitalisation or death figures would have to be to trigger “Plan B”.
Mr Randall said, “the vaccination program has weakened the link between cases and hospital admissions.
Two years ago we could only dream of. Appreciated step forward we’ve made.
The metrics seem to be ok at the moment. Just had letter for booster. Reiterate sign up when people do get that. That’s helped us, a fantastic success.
When asked about a report by MPs released last week which found that the Government made “big mistakes” which cost “thousands” of lives during its response to the pandemic in 2020, Mr Randall said: “The Government dealt with a very difficult set of facts.
“It was an event throng on them suddenly involving every aspect of daily life. Big decisions had to be made really quickly.
“It’s not easy making these decisions. In due course there will be public inquiry.
“I would challenge anybody to say that they could have made significantly different or better decisions.
When asked about the next General Election, he added: “I’m ready any time subject to re-adoption from Gedling Conservative Association, of course.
“I don’t see any trouble there.”
He did not offer a prediction as to when the next election might be.
He said: “It could be at any time. As long as it’s not next week
“In the next few years, possibly.”