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'I don't see the point!' Andrew Neil brutally pulls apart Sunak’s National Insurance rise

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In the Chancellor’s Spring Statement made in the House of Commons earlier today, Mr Sunak imposed the National Insurance rise in order to pay for rising costs within the NHS following the impact of the Covid pandemic. The tax will be raised by 1.25 percent and will see people who earn over £35,000 a year paying more into the Treasury coffers.

However, the move has been savaged by veteran journalist Andrew Neil, who mocked the long-term benefits of Mr Sunak’s plans.

He wrote on Twitter: “So let me get this right … Chancellor increases national insurance from next month by 1.25 percent.

“Has same impact as income tax rise of 1.25 percent for most workers.

“Then says he’ll cut income tax by 1 percent in 2024 … don’t quite see the point.”

Others also took to examining the impact of the rise in National Insurance.

Financial expert Martin Lewis also said: “The cost of living crisis is still going to be a substantial net loss in people’s real income over the next year and what has happened today will not cover that for people on lower or higher incomes but it will mitigate some of the impacts.

“There will still be many people who will be struggling and having to choose between freezing and starving but there will be fewer.

“And there will clearly be people who are going to have to curtail their lifestyles due to the cost of living… and some of them won’t have to curtail it quite as much.”

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Martin Lewis shares the wage you WON’T pay more tax under NI hike

This was echoed by the leader of the TUC Frances O’Grady, who said: “The small print shows pay packets are now expected to fall in value by £11 a week this year.”

Economist Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, said he was worried the increases across the board will push more people into poverty.

He said: “The thing that was completely missing from this was anything for people on universal credit or state pension.

“That’s only going up by 3.1 percent next month when inflation will probably be around eight percent – so that’s going to be a big cut in living standards for those on the very lowest incomes.

“The rest of what he’s done, if you put together what he did in February with what he announced today, it really is quite a big package, but unfortunately for him and for our living standards, undone by the fact we’ve got this big National insurance rise coming in as well.

“So you put all of that together and there’s still going to be a lot of households that are significantly worse off over the next year.”

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Warning of more people falling into poverty prior to the announcement, one charity issued a grave warning to the Chancellor.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: “400,000 people will fall into poverty if benefits are only uprated by 3.1 per cent this year.

“Inflation is currently 5.4 per cent, but is expected to rise further throughout the year.”

Katie Schmuecker, Deputy Director of Policy & Partnerships at JRF, said: “It defies logic to expect people to be able to cope with a steep increase in the cost of essentials when their incomes are not keeping up with inflation.

“We already hear countless examples of people across the country struggling to adequately heat their homes and feed and care for their families.

“Following a decade of cuts and freezes to the benefits system, this failure to keep pace with prices will cast more people into desperate situations.

“In a country as rich as ours in 2022, this is just not right.”

What do you think of the Chancellors Spring Statement? Are you worried about your financial situation following the announcement? Are you happy to pay more to fund the NHS? Let us know what you think of these questions, or add points of your own by CLICKING HERE and joining the debate in our comments section below – Every Voice Matters!

In spite of the rises in National Insurances contributions, some cuts were also announced by Mr Sunak.

These included a 5p cut in fuel duty on the forecourts around Britain, Income Tax being cut down to 19p from 20p in 2024, and zero percent VAT on energy-saving initiatives such as solar panels.

Some of the cuts however will not apply to Northern Ireland who remain bound to EU legislation under the Northern Ireland Protocol following Brexit.



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'Have to kick the pedal to the metal' Ex-Ukrainian leader slams Macron tank aide hesitancy

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Ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk sat down on LBC Radio to discuss NATO leaders. NATO has been allying themselves with Ukraine, sending help and weaponry and taking fleeing Ukrainian refugees. NATO members held a conference on the Russian invasion earlier this week to discuss more ways to help Ukraine.

Mr Yatsenyuk pushed for Macron to send over military tanks as promised, slamming him for dragging his feet, and claiming that the war in Ukraine affects the security of every European country.

Mr Yatsenyuk said: “That’s what Putin is closely watching, as for now, Putin didn’t expect this kind of unity and consolidated and concerted actions against the Russian federation.

“But you know, the time is running and we don’t have enough time to wait until some EU member states decide to supply more weapons to Ukraine.

“Or to impose tougher and stronger sanctions on the Russian Federation, so the EU has to be decisive and they have to speed up the process of new sanctions.

“And the shipment and delivery of weapons to Ukraine, because it’s not just about Ukraina and they realise it clearly, this is about the free world.

“And this is about the security of every single nation in the European Union, so the French have to kick the pedal to the metal.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky explained this week that he expected “serious steps” from Western-allied countries.

Mr Zelensky repeated the calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine to be imposed by NATO forces and complained that the Western allies had not yet provided Ukraine with sufficient planes, up to date modern anti-missile systems, tanks or anti-ship weapons.

Mr Zelensky added: “At these three summits we will see who is our friend, who is our partner and who sold us out and betrayed us.”

President Zelensky also expressed that he was grateful for the support Ukraine was continuing to receive from individual NATO member countries from around the world.

Mr Zelensky added: “But NATO has yet to show what the alliance can do to save people,” he said. “It feels like we’re in the grey zone between the West and Russia, but we’re protecting all our and your shared values.

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Mr Johnson added: “We’ve got to tighten the economic vice around Putin, sanctioning more people today, as we are, sanctioning the Wagner Group, looking at what we can do to stop Putin using his gold reserves, and also doing more to help the Ukrainians defend themselves.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been playing an active role in trying to de-escalate the war with Russia by imposing tight sanctions on Russia to try and stop Putin’s warpath of destruction.

Ms Truss has warned that infighting between NATO countries at the moment could be highly detrimental for progress in ending the war.

Mr Truss said: “Russia’s targeting of critical national infrastructure is calculated and dangerous.

“It shows Putin is prepared to risk lives to sow division and confusion among allies.”



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Brexit news: What happens when Article 16 is triggered?

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After Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) was confirmed, the two parties have been attempting to renegotiate terms for a special Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland. Coined the Northern Ireland protocol it’s been a point of contention that’s led to threats from each side of triggering a mechanism called Article 16. But what is it?

What is Article 16?

The UK and EU agreed to the creation of the Northern Ireland protocol, in October 2019.

By allowing goods to flow freely between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland the deal removed the threat of a hard border.

But the arrangement has also resulted in what’s been labelled as an ‘Irish Sea border’.

READ MORE: ‘Totally undeniable’ MPs colluded with Remainers to try stop Brexit

Goods that now arrive into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK are subjected to more stringent checks and controls.

In the scenario that either the UK or EU feel that the protocol is leading to significant issues or hampering their capacity to trade, then they have the option of activating Article 16.

The component sets out the process for taking unilateral “safeguard” measures, which in reality would amount to suspending parts of the deal.

Specifically, Article 16 says safeguard measures can be taken if the protocol is leading to serious “economic, societal or environmental difficulties” that are liable to persist.

He said: “Triggering Article 16 now would severely disrupt the unity of the UK and EU response to the war in Ukraine.

“It is thus perhaps not surprising that key US figures chose this week to restate that any uncertainty around the stability of the Good Friday Agreement would hinder a future UK-US trade deal.”

In recent months talks between Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and her EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic have stalled, leading to calls from Brexiteers for the UK to act.

However, Professor Menon cautioned that triggering Article 16 won’t “rid” Britain of the protocol.

He added: “I think the British Government if it triggers Article 16 will do something relatively small and contained.

“And then there’s not a massive bust-up. You don’t end up getting rid of the protocol. You end up with months if not years of negotiations, mediation and arbitration.

“So, it’s a way of doing something but it’s not a way of solving anything. In a sense you’re still stuck with the protocol and you’re still negotiating about the future of the protocol.”

In essence, were Article 16 to be triggered it wouldn’t have a huge impact on the ground.

Many of the checks on goods flowing from Britain to Northern Ireland have already been unilaterally suspended.

Triggering the mechanism itself would only start a formal dispute process that requires both sides to go into talks to resolve.



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NATO slammed as former US Army chief exposes ‘two big issues’ in united Russia response

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US Army vice chief of staff general Jack Keane, sat down on LBC radio to talk about the NATO conference which took place earlier this week. Mr Keane discussed the possibility that Putin could deploy chemical biological weapons on the battlefield. Russian President Vladimir Putin has already used the highly condemned thermobaric weapons since the war started just over a month ago.

The US Army chief acknowledged there had been no public policy declaration on the consequences Putin would face if he was to take such a barbaric action.

Mr Keane said: “Listen I was very disappointed by the NATO summit.

“I totally applaud the fact that they’re going to increase by 40k troops in Eastern Europe.

“And they’re increasing sanctions and it seems like a sense of unity.

“But on two big issues, it’s got to be disappointing, there’s no NATO public policy declaration.

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Mr Keane added: “At the end of that summit to deal with this particular issue, chemical biological weapons and nuclear weapons which the Russians have been waving in front of our face now for almost 30 days.

“What we need is… Think policy statement, not something that’s left to a reporter to ask a question on.

“And then you get a statement that you just repeated, which leads to more confirmation than anything else.

“A much better statement, using my words… I don’t want to put words into other people’s mouths.

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“But with me, the use of any form of WMB would be unacceptable.

“We will not let it stand, it will result in decisive consequential actions and all options are on the table.

“Words to that effect, in a public policy statement, and we didn’t get it and it’s really unfortunate.

“And what it does it leaves in the minds of Putin and his  leaders just what would the reaction be, ambiguous like that and I think it’s very unfortunate.”

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Fear of the Russian military deploying chemical biological weapons has been heightened.

Ukrainian outlet InformNapalm has warned that: “Our conclusions may sound premature or too apocalyptic, but after the missile attacks and bombing of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, which the Russian army resorted to, we believe that it is necessary to make these data public and try to thwart any such intentions of Russia.”

And NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Thursday: “We’ve tried to be very clear about the gravity of the use of any such chemical weapons.

“These are agents that should never be employed and certainly not on the battlefield, as we are concerned Russia might.”



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