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.
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.”
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.”