Hammond’s U-turn on National Insurance savagely mocked on social media (TWEETS)
In a letter to his fellow Conservative MPs, Hammond said he was retracting the 2 percent hike on Class 4 NICs. Many had complained the policy breached promises made in the party’s manifesto, exposing Hammond as “incompetent, dreadful and weak.”
“With the self-imposed NICs U-turn, the Government is actually now a more effective opposition than Labour,” said Twitter user Mark Baker.
“Howling U-turn! Is Philip Hammond about to become self-employed? Chancellor thrown under a bus & brand [Prime Minister Theresa] May damaged,” added another social media commentator, Allan Lambert.
Huge National Insurance U-Turn from the Tories. Chaos is an understatement. #PMQs— Rachael (@Rachael_Swindon) March 15, 2017
Others thought mainstream media was to blame for Hammond’s backtracking on a policy many believed to be a fair way to address inequality.
It really wasn't a budget u-turn it was more like the right wing press barons who control this govt's agenda pulled hard on the reins. #PMQs— Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) March 15, 2017
TheresaMay knows press are on her side. Slip out Tax U-Turn seconds before PMQs. Relax to watch media blame Corbyn for failing to capitalise— Eoin Clarke (@LabourEoin) March 15, 2017
“Why the government U-turn on NICs? Because the Tory press attacked. Proof, with Brexit, that Mail/Sun/Express/Telegraph run this country,” said author Gregory Normington.
The Tory Tribe bites back! Allegiance of white van man, tory Mps and tory press extract a u-turn #NICs which sought to address unfairness.— (((Lorraine Ash))) (@Jimmibabe) March 15, 2017
Most, however, worried about the black hole in the budget the increase was meant to address – a £2 billion (US$2.4 billion) social care bill.
Last week Hammond specifically said in interviews that scrapping the proposed NICs rise would mean not funding social care. So now what?— Jane Merrick (@janemerrick23) March 15, 2017
“So where will the much-needed new £2 billion for social care come from now?” tweeted the King’s Fund policy adviser Helen McKenna.
“Now that we have a U-turn on NICs how will the chancellor fund the extra social care spending?” added a user named Jason Medea.
Perhaps the funniest comments came from those comparing Hammond’s weakness with the apparent cluelessness of cabinet minister David Davis during a Brexit briefing on Wednesday.
David Davis: I’m incompetent, dreadful and weak. I’m showing that this government has no idea what it’s doing.— SimonNRicketts (@SimonNRicketts) March 15, 2017
Philip Hammond: Hold my beer.
In a mock conversation tweeted by journalist Simon Ricketts, Davis tells Hammond: “I’m incompetent, dreadful and weak. I’m showing that this government has no idea what it’s doing.”
“Hold my beer,” Hammond replies.