Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Ben Gummer, Ipswich MP, to ‘abolish’ National Insurance.

with 5 comments

Ben Gummer’s Political Programme.

Ipswich Tory MP Ben Gummer is famous for a number of  things.

  • He has ” suggested shaking up local government so that councillors solely representing local businesses could be elected to town halls.Mr Gummer acknowledged the idea “had no hope of getting into a manifesto” but pointed to the City of London, as a model for how his idea works in practice.The City is governed by the Corporation of London, which is the oldest local authority in England having been founded in medieval times.Elections there give votes to both firms and residents. (BBC 2012)
  • For his book, The Scourging Angel: The Black Death in the British Isles. Gummer suggested that the Catholic Church played a noble role in comforting the sick and helping stem the worst effects of the plague. This may or may not be taken as seriously. We note that his Catholicism has not helped him take a stand against the misery that “welfare reform” has brought to many of his constituents. Or to help the present-day unwell fight off the ATOS pandemic.
  • Being a Toady, a founder indeed, of the Royal Guild of Toadies. This has earned him the position of adviser to Michael Gove.

Today we learn this,

A Conservative MP is campaigning for national insurance contributions (NICs) to be rebranded the “earnings tax” in a move that has caught the eye of the chancellor.

Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, is bringing forward a 10-minute rule bill this week that proposes changing the name as the first step towards merging it with income tax.

It is highly unlikely to make it into law through this route but George Osborne, the chancellor, is said to be attracted to the idea.

Gummer has been campaigning on tax transparency as a merger of income tax and NICs could make it clearer to people how much they are paying to the exchequer out of their earnings.

National insurance, first introduced in 1911, is levied on employers and employees to pay for certain benefits such as the state pension. It works out at around 12% per year, plus an extra 2% for earnings above £41,450.


Ipswich Spy notes that renaming National Insurance  is a demand of the hard-right Tax Payers’ Alliance*.

Gummer states that “Taxpayers are consumers”, including no doubt employers.

Nobody should be in any doubt as to which ‘consumers’ he is most interested in.

A recent post (14th February)  on his Blog shows where he stands, “ANGLIAN WATER SHOWS WHY PRIVATIZATION CAN WORK.”

Now he wants to get people aligned with the bosses to complain about the level of tax, that is the “earnings tax”.

Gummer’s support for the City of London and hard-right free-market ideas are no secret.

Perhaps  Georgi Dimitrov was thinking of the likes of Gummer when he talked of “of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.”

*The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has called for National Insurance (NI) to be scrapped to make the tax system simpler and more transparent. The need for tax reform has never been more pressing, particularly in light of this week’s revelations about HMRC errors.

The campaign group says National Insurance serves no purpose and has set out a package of measures to merge both employers’ and employees’ contributions with Income Tax. The call comes as part of the Treasury’s call for feedback as part of its consideration of the integration of the operation of the income tax and National Insurance contributions system……

The move could significantly reduce the burden on businesses of complying with these taxes, as well as making it easier for people to see exactly how much tax they are paying on their earnings. Here.

The Spectator underlines our point.

After describing the Ipswich Toad Eater’s proposal notes, 

That’s all very noble in itself. But there’s another point, which Gummer isn’t focusing on, but which is politically handy to his party. Labour wants a greater emphasis on raising taxes after 2015 than the Conservatives do. But because tax rises aren’t very popular, the best way to do this beyond some symbolic taxes such as raising the top rate back to 50p (if that raises anything more at all) and introducing a mansion tax would be to focus on the mysterious National Insurance. But if National Insurance became an Earnings Tax and it was clearer to the electorate what it is, then the Tories wouldn’t need to work quite so hard on their ‘stealth tax’/’jobs tax’ campaigns as they have before.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 24, 2014 at 10:53 am

5 Responses

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  1. “Reacting to reports that the Government is likely to back proposals to rename National Insurance to “Earnings Tax”, Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

    “Earnings Tax is a far more accurate description than National Insurance and Ben Gummer deserves huge credit for his campaigning. Renaming National Insurance will make it clear to taxpayers that it is a second Income Tax in all but name. In the long term it should be abolished entirely to make the tax system more transparent, remove a huge burden on employers and allow people to see how much the taxman really takes out of their pay packet each month.”


    Andrew Coates

    February 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm

  2. The word ‘bonkers’ comes to mind. The Tory Party are moving ever further forward to the right and seem intent on aping the ‘Tea Party’ in the USA, partly driven by the likes of UKIP in a desperate attempt to be more right wing than UKIP (a frightening prospect for all of us).

    Since when has Anglian Water been a privatisation success story. A private monopoly is all that Anglian Water no different than the other utility companies. The City of London is hardly a shining example of democracy in action, comforted by the enormous wealth. of the City of London.
    A part of me feels that they, the Tories and their like want Britain to return to a period before 1832 and the first Reform Act.


    February 24, 2014 at 7:42 pm

  3. Re. the “Taxpayers’ Alliance”. There is a similar organisation in Germany, with a much longer history, which calls itself, even more misleadingly, “the tax(payers’) trade union”, but plays the same role (and many of its proclamations are shown to be utter bunkum, but that doesn’t stop the media reporting them gleefully).

    The unions or the left or both of them, or even just some soggy ‘genuine’ social democrats, god, even the likes of Tom Watson or Cruddas, should try and spoil the “TA” party and form their own organisation and call it “The Real Taxpayers’ Alliance”. Instead of calling on the government to abolish the welfare state and privatise everything, it would do the opposite, and justify its views based on facts, on efficiency, value for money, the benefits democratic control – yes, by taxpayers, of indusries, and talk about tax dodging by the rich and the need for a progressive tax system. No piece of nonsense spat out by the “TA” should go unchallenged.

    And maybe launching a tenants’ movement as well.

    And I mean *movements*; not just PR organisations or fronts for union bureaucrats (or far left, or not-so-left activists). Movements that actually do something useful down on the ground, and by that I don’t mean handing out leaflets in a shopping street for 2 hours on a Saturday morning, while collecting signatures on a fake petition.

    Is that too much to ask? Those who are wasting their time in the Loach vanity project Left Unity could be doing something far more useful.


    February 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm

  4. Chris, Anglian water is notorious for overcharging people.

    Criticism for Anglia Water
    Duration: 3 hours
    First broadcast: Thursday 25 July 2013
    An MP declares that Anglian Water customers are victims of “a great rip-off.”

    2012 Thames Water and Anglian Water paid no corporation tax in their latest financial year despite reporting a combined operating profit of more than £1.1bn, while Yorkshire Water paid £2.9m in corporation tax this year while generating an operating profit of £303m.

    Anglian Water: The 22 month payment theft.

    They are not alone, (2011) “A report in the Sunday Times on 27th February has claimed that water companies in England and Wales have overcharged consumers almost £1.7 billion for services they have not used “.


    Andrew Coates

    February 25, 2014 at 11:56 am

  5. Thanks for the update on Anglian Water Andrew, and not really surprised. Gummer’s comments about replacing mediocre councillors with businessmen can be placed at the door of his own party. In my time in local government, many local Tories, were just that, local businessmen who ran local businesses. Quite a tilt at his own party membership. Feel the substance of Gummer’s argument is wholly tilted at favouring big business. The Tories have always gone out of their way to represent what could be described as the ‘petty bourgeoisie’ -small businesses in other words. Are they now contemplating abandoning them? Who fills that vacuum – UKIP, or worse than UKIP?


    February 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm

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