Readers' letters: National Insurance rises are bigger than many realise

News reports on increases to National Insurance state that contributions will go up by 1.25 per cent this month.

In fact, the rise is a 1.25 percentage point increase applied to existing National Insurance rates, not a percentage increase on those rates.

This might sound pedantic, but it does make quite a big difference to the figures. For people currently paying National Insurance at a rate of 12 per cent, this will mean they start to pay at 13.25 per cent instead. Most people will, therefore, see a more than 10 per cent increase in the amount of National Insurance they pay after the rise.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Social borrowing needs to be paid for

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Times are certainly difficult financially and many are worried about the future.

Today my hairdresser told me her 'fears' with a threat of a four-day week to save on bills and many customers who have found alternative services nearer home during the pandemic.

However, as well as all the increased expenditure we are experiencing four facts remain inescapable.

(i) Many of us enjoyed the 'safety net' of the furlough scheme; (ii) Many saved money though working from home and no transport costs and savings on holidays and weekends out. (iii) Despite many sad losses, all of us benefitted from the wonderful work of our NHS and a superb vaccination programme. (iv) most of us approve of our government's support of Ukraine which must surely be costly.

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I hope that most of us would want to see the NHS try to catch up with postponed operations and recognise the need to improve our care in the community.

However, we don't seem to want to recognise that all this requires to be paid for. We accepted the need to borrow, sometimes vast sums, but forget the interest that has to be paid on our government borrowings.

They, like us with Covid, are not responsible for the position in which we find ourselves, so they should not be left with the debt mountain.

None of us wants to have less to spend or reduced living standards but the alternative is to avoid the cost now and further increase the debt on our children.

James Watson, Dunbar.

Economy not safe in Conservative hands

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The Health Secretary claimed it is only fair that we pay extra taxes now and not leave it to future generations. This is his key justification for increase in taxes and National Insurance during a cost of living crisis.

The problem is that Conservative obsession with sound finance does not create good economic conditions to benefit future generations. Low productivity and low growth puts a constant drag on the economy.

We can't reduce national debt or turn round the constant decline in our economy because our economic recovery is impeded not supported.

The Tories are content with the risks their ideologically driven policies price in. The Office for Budget Responsibility has been scathing about the growing impact of Brexit, causing a 2 per cent fall in GDP and likely to worsen.

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Levelling up has limited funds so will achieve little. Defence spending is cut. Tory ideologists prefer the high cost nuclear solution to our fossil fuel dependence. But the chancellor sees that as too expensive so the plan will be undermined. Other solutions, solar, wind power and improving insulation in houses would be immediate and less expensive.

Poor at growing the economy, the Tories can't claim to look out for future generations.

Andrew Vass, Edinburgh.

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