Is Starmer right about £46bn ‘black hole’ in government plans?


Labour has been linking abolishing NI to the state pension.

Sir Keir said in Parliament in March: “80% of National Insurance is spent on social security and pensions; 20% is spent on the NHS.”

He is right about that, but it does not necessarily mean that cutting NI would mean less spending on either the NHS or state pensions.

While part of NI goes towards paying pensions, other taxes may also be used.

The IFS explains, external that while the government decides the rate of NI and how much to spend on pensions and the NHS, “the amounts need not be related to each other, and generally aren’t”.

The value of the state pension is currently protected by the triple lock, which both Labour, external and the Conservatives are committed to.

The triple lock guarantees that pensions will rise each year by whichever is higher of inflation, earnings growth and 2.5%.

Sir Keir said in May: “If £46bn were cut from its funding, the value of the state pension would almost halve.”

The Office for Budget Responsibility, which is responsible for making economic forecasts for the government, estimates, external that £138bn will be spent on the state pension this year.

So £46bn would be one third of that.


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