"With an increased demand for social care, a means has to be found to pay for it. If we are not to require each individual to pay from their own resources then a tax increase of some sort will be inevitable.
The problem with the Prime Minister's plan is that it is the worst form of taxation. It takes a flat-rate from everyone but the benefit of the tax will be felt mostly by the better off and those with the most assets. Rather than being progressive as the Prime Minister has described, it is an extremely regressive tax.
It also imposes additional labour costs on employers at a time when we are trying to promote economic recovery. Lastly, it will hit the youngest harder than those who will achieve the immediate benefits.
Northern Ireland will benefit by around £420million per year by this increase in National Insurance but there is no indication that the Executive will be required to spend it on the purpose for which it was raised since the Government cannot ringfence money which it allocates to the Northern Ireland budget. Given that we have some of the highest waiting lists in the United Kingdom and our own social care plan it would be important that the Executive make a commitment quickly as to how it intends to spend this additional revenue which will be raised from all of our pay packets.
It is important that it should not be squandered on meaningless gestures to facilitate the cultural demands of Sinn Fein or some other party political interests."