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National Insurance & social care polling – September 2021

Polling amongst UK adults and MPs on increasing national insurance to fund social care.

Half say government breaking manifesto pledge to raise National Insurance is acceptable – Savanta ComRes

  • Breaking manifesto pledge to fund social care reform – 46% acceptable, 42% unacceptable
  • Quarter (28%) would not raise NI to fund social care reform, and 33% would raise by less than government’s 1.25%
  • Half (45%) would prefer to see income tax rise, compared to National Insurance (30%)
  • Two thirds (63%) of those aged 65+ oppose scrapping the triple lock for a year

A new poll from Savanta ComRes finds that almost half (46%) of the public say that the government breaking a Conservative manifesto commitment and raising National Insurance to fund social care is ‘acceptable’.

Those saying the move is acceptable is generally consistent by age, with 46% of 18-34s and 43% of 35-54s, those most likely to be hit by the rise, saying it is acceptable, while 50% of those aged 55+ say the same.

However, two in five (42%) overall say that breaking the manifesto commitment is unacceptable.

When debating the rise itself, almost three in ten (28%) say that they would not raise National Insurance to fund social care, while a further third (32%) would only raise it by 1%, slightly lower than the government’s planned raise of 1.25%. Just one in ten (10%) say they would have raised National Insurance by 2% or more, thought to be the preferred choice of former Chancellor, Sajid Javid.

And when presented with the straight choice between raising National Insurance and raising income tax to fund social care, just three in ten (30%) would raise National Insurance while one and half times more (45%) would raise income tax. A quarter (26%) don’t know.

Elsewhere in the poll, a third (31%) say that they support the government’s plans to scrap the pensions triple lock this year, announced today (7 Sept) by Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey. This is in contrast to the 36% who oppose the decision, which rises to 63% among those aged 65+.

Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes says,

“Much will be said in the coming days about how the government’s latest announcements will affect their future electoral prospects, namely breaking a manifesto commitment and temporarily removing the triple lock from pensioners, a key voting bloc for the Conservatives.

On this evidence, breaking a manifesto commitment is unlikely to have a huge electoral impact, particularly within the context of an electorate that’s willing to be forgiving due to the pandemic, although time will tell on whether Labour drive home a message of tax rises and broken promises from the usually fiscally prudent Conservatives.

And while ‘unlocking’ the triple lock may not be the best news for pensioners, funding their social care using a working-age tax rise is likely to offset any ill feeling they may have towards the government. In that sense, I wouldn’t expect these policies to have a great electoral impact, at least in the short-term.”


Date Published: 09/09/2021

Categories: Policy Makers | Politics | Public and communities

Client: Savanta ComRes


Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,087 UK adults aged 18+ online from 3-5 September 2021. Data were weighted to be representative of UK adults by age, sex, region, and SEG.

Savanta ComRes interviewed 104 Members of Parliament online from 14 July – 31 August. Data was weighted by political party, region of the UK, marginality, length of service, age and gender

Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.



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