CONSERVATIVE MPs have defended the Prime Minister for breaking a manifesto promise with a tax hike.

A new health and social care tax is set to be introduced to pay for the reforms to health and social care and NHS funding, meaning Oxfordshire residents will have to fork out hundreds of pounds extra a year.

The Prime Minister’s 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance breaches the Conservative manifesto for the 2019 election which promised it would not increase the rate of income tax, VAT or NI.

David Johnston, Conservative MP for Wantage answered constituents' questions on BBC Radio Oxford. He was asked by Oxfordshire residents why the Conservatives have broken a promise made to their voters.

The MP told BBC Radio Oxford: “It was also a manifesto that promised to fix social care, so we are breaking a manifesto commitment in part by meeting another manifesto commitment in a much worse economic situation than anybody could have anticipated because they had never even heard of Covid at the time of the election.”

Mr Johnston also told the BBC that some of his constituents have previously written to him to say they would not mind if tax was increased if it meant the money would go to health and social care and NHS.

Witney MP Robert Courts said: "While I am always an advocate of keeping the tax burden as low as possible, no responsible government could ignore the scale of the challenge the health service is facing as a result of the pandemic. The new Health and Care Levy will therefore support the biggest catch-up plan in NHS history – delivering nine million more checks, scans, and treatments. It will also help deliver much-needed reforms to the social care system, ensuring no-one will have to pay more than £86,000 in care costs over their lifetime and casting out the safety net further so many more people can benefit from having the costs of their care covered."

MP for Banbury Victoria Prentis said: "No government seeks election making manifesto promises that they intend to break. But as the Prime Minister said yesterday, no-one could have predicted that we would face a global pandemic with such profound consequences for the country. We have to be realistic about the challenges we now face, be open and honest about how best to tackle them and take action for the long-term good of those we represent."

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