“If we’re lucky enough to be elected, so the first budget we will go up to the £9,500 threshold and that will, as I say, put £500 into the pockets of everyone”

Boris Johnson, campaign stop in North Yorkshire

November 20, 2019

Claim

Boris Johnson revealed his plans to raise the threshold at which people start to pay National Insurance contributions. His long-term aim was to raise the threshold to £12,500, but an increase next year to £9,500 would benefit “everybody” by £500 a year.

Facts

Johnson’s claim that the threshold increase to £9,500 would deliver a £500 annual benefit to every taxpayer was not supported by the Conservatives Party’s press release, which said it would “cut taxes for 31 million workers by approximately £100 a year.”

And, as BBC Reality Check reported, the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggested a slightly lower benefit of £85. The difference in the figures depends on whether the increases to allow for inflation are taken into account.

The Tory manifesto was even more circumspect. On page 16, it said: “We will raise the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 next year — representing a tax cut for 31 million workers. Our ultimate ambition is to ensure that the first £12,500 you earn is completely free of tax — which would put almost £500 per year in people’s pockets.”

Verdict

Johnson’s claim is incorrect. The increase to £9,500 will deliver a figure of £100 or less, not £500. Moreover, it is inaccurate to say the increase will benefit “everybody” as those earning less than the current threshold of £8,632 and those above the state pension age do not pay National Insurance.

In the heat of the campaign, Johnson may have confused the impact of a £12,500 threshold with that of a £9,500 one. 

The £500 benefit did generate some positive press coverage for Johnson. For example, The Daily Express reported that “Boris Johnson has promised to hand millions of workers tax cut of nearly £500-a-week if he wins the general election.”

PreviousNext