Yesterday’s “sensational blank-cheque gamble” to bail out the NHS will spell doom for Boris Johnson, says Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. Right now the public worships the “cash-guzzling NHS”, and at its best it’s world-class. But the cash is certain to be soaked up by its “sponge-like” bureaucracy and extra money for doctors to do less. Meanwhile, the poorest will pay the most to help the richest. Hiking national insurance will hammer white van man and red-wall voters just as they are being ordered to pay more to go green.
Boris’s key election promise was to avoid tax rises. Now his hike will drain the economy of £12bn a year, on top of the £25bn announced in “grim-faced” Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s earlier budget. Respected economist Paul Johnson says this year’s permanent tax increase of 1.5% of national income is the “highest in peacetime”. The least you can say, I suppose, is that the PM is trying after decades of Tory and Labour governments “ducking and diving”. But he’s learnt nothing from Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who tried the same dodge 20 years ago with their disastrous 1p health tax. There is no known plan for an efficiency drive. “And, Boris, it won’t be the NHS that gets the blame. It will be you.”