Follow the latest updates from Westminster and beyond
The Labour Party has warned Boris Johnson that his plans to increase National Insurance (NI) payments by 1.25 per cent will disproportionately effect hospitality and retail workers – leaving them as much as £1,000 worse off a year.
Combined with the government’s planned cuts to Universal Credit (UC), and plans to freeze the income tax personal allowance, Labour said the latest Tory proposal would take £1,130 away from a hospitality worker and more than £1,100 from social care workers, nurses, teaching assistants and supermarket staff.
While the prime minister has insisted that hiking up NI payments to fund health and social care reforms is “the right, the reasonable and the fair approach”, Sir Keir Starmer has accused his opponent of “putting the very wealthiest ahead of working people who have to pick up the bill”.
It comes as Therese Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, defended the government’s decision to reverse the £20 uplift in UC at the end of the month. Asked for her opinion on the matter, Ms Coffey said the boost was only ever “temporary” and introduced because of the pandemic.
Coffey says colleagues must be ‘transparent’ about meetings amid Patel drama
A Cabinet minister said colleagues must be “transparent” about who they meet after home secretary Priti Patel faces allegations of breaching the ministerial code regarding a meeting with a billionaire Tory donor.
Therese Coffey told Sky News earlier: “I don’t know the details … What I am aware of is sometimes you do end up meeting people, perhaps by accident, and you have a conversation.”
Told it was not an accident, she said: “One of the things, if you’re not there with a private secretary, is that you pass the information on to the officials and it’s dealt with by the private office.
“As long as you pass on the information, that’s what matters to make sure that the civil servants have the record and they can declare that in the appropriate way.
“I don’t have the details of Priti but it’s important we just make sure it’s transparent in that regard with our civil servants and they can use the information accordingly.”
Labour has accused Ms Patel of being “reckless” and a “serial offender” after her meeting with Surinder Arora, the donor, on 11 August.
Minister admits not seeing HMRC report about NI hike
England’s work and pensions secretary has admitted not being aware of an HMRC report warning that the National Insurance hike could increase the likelihood of family breakdown for those already on the breadline.
Despite this, Therese Coffey told LBC radio she “absolutely” still backs the 1.25 per cent levy.
Asked then if she is happy to break up families, she said: “I’m not sure where that comes in on your questioning. I don’t know where HMRC or any … I have not seen that report.
“I expect it’s an unquoted source and we don’t look into elements like that.”
Told it is from the HMRC, she said: “I’m not aware of it, thank you for bringing it to my attention. I’m not sure I agree with the assertion that is made.”
Javid confirms plans to cut £20 Universal Credit uplift will go ahead
In case you missed it, the health secretary confirmed plans to reverse the £20 uplift to Universal Credit on Sunday.
The weekly increase was introduced temporarily to help claimants weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic. But ministers plan to start phasing out the increase from the end of September, based on individual claimants’ payment dates.
And despite opposition, Sajid Javid said plans would go ahead, reports Geraldine Scott.
It has been estimated that recipients could lose £1,040 a year.
Coffey defends government U-turn on Universal Credit
Therese Coffey has justified the government’s decision to revoke the extra £20 added to Universal Credit payments during Covid, saying the move was only ever intended to be a “temporary measure”.
The work and pensions secretary said she was focused on getting workers back into jobs and giving them extra skills.
It comes as the government announced a £650bn investment into public and private infrastructure across the country over the next decade.
The latest national infrastructure and construction pipeline was launched on Monday, with the government saying it was the most ambitious yet, and would support 425,000 jobs a year over the next four years.
Tory tax proposals to ‘unfairly effect hospitality and retail workers’ – Labour
Hospitality and retail workers will be more than £1,000 worse off a year under Tory proposals, Labour has alleged.
The party said its own analysis had found the NI hike announced by the Conservatives to fund NHS and social care – combined with planned cuts to Universal Credit and plans to freeze the income tax personal allowance – would take £1,130 away from a hospitality worker.
And Labour said many other workers, including those that steered the country through the pandemic, would be impacted with those including social care workers, nurses, teaching assistants and supermarket staff losing more than £1,100 a year.
A band 5 nurse would lose £1,159 next year, Labour’s analysis found, while a social care worker would lose £1,108, a supermarket worker £1,040 and a teaching assistant £1,040.
Sir Keir will visit Rose’s Cafe in London on Monday with deputy leader Angela Rayner to meet hospitality and retail workers. Ahead of the meeting, he said: “The Conservatives’ plans to impose unfair taxes are an attack on working people and an attack on the key worker heroes who have got our country through the pandemic.
“The government’s announcement on social care will not fix the crisis in social care, will not clear the backlog in our NHS and will not protect homeowners from having to sell their homes to pay for care. As usual with this Prime Minister, it is working people who are going to pay for the cost of his failure.”
Ms Rayner added: “Conservative ministers are taking £1,000 out of the pockets of my old workmates working on the frontline of our social care sector.”
Labour said its alternative plan would include an immediate increase to the minimum wage to at least £10 per hour, which the party estimated would put £2,000 into the pockets of full-time minimum wage workers.
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling UK politics coverage. Stay tuned while we bring you the latest updates asBoris Johnson continues to be attacked for his plans to increase the National Insurance tax.