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Great Britain

What is national insurance and what’s the threshold?

BORIS Johnson has announced that if he remains Prime Minister after next month’s election, he would raise the income threshold at which workers start paying National Insurance.

The PM said you would not start paying the tax until you earn £9,500 - up from £8,632 at the moment.

The change wouldn’t come into effect until April next year, but then could rise again by the middle of the next decade, meaning potential tax breaks for thousands of people.

But what would that mean for you?

What is National Insurance?

National Insurance is a tax on your earnings.

Your National Insurance contributions are paid into a fund, from which some state benefits are paid.

This includes the state pension, statutory sick pay or maternity leave, or entitlement to unemployment benefits.

If you are a UK national, you should receive an NI number (and NI card) automatically before you turn 16.

This number allows the government to track your tax.

Who currently pays it?

You pay National Insurance if you’re 16 or over and either:

It is deducted from your wages each month.

If you're employed, you can see how much you pay by looking at your pay slip.

Once you reach state pension age, you don't need to pay it at all.

There are different types of National Insurance (known as ‘classes’), and the type you pay depends on your employment status and how much you earn, and whether you have any gaps in your National Insurance record.

Why do I need to pay it?

Paying National Insurance entitles you to some state benefits, though these vary according to your employment status.

You'll need to pay into National Insurance for a set number of years to be entitled to receive the state pension.

If you haven't met the minimum amount of contributions, you may not qualify for some benefits.

What are the thresholds and how much do I pay?

At the moment, the threshold for National Insurance payments is £8,632 - but Boris Johnson wants to raise it to £9,500 from next April.

That will mean a £100 tax cut for most people but he pledged the threshold would be raised to £12,500 by the mid-2020s - handing a £465 tax cut in total to the vast majority of the UK workforce.

The move is ultimately expected to take 2.4million people out of paying the tax altogether.

At the moment, most people pay 12 per cent of their earnings between the threshold and £50,000 in National Insurance.

You pay two per cent on any money earned over £50,000.

What savings can I expect?

Here's how the new rules would work:

Earlier this year it emerged that servicemen's partners could be missing out on £250 in National Insurance credits - given to ensure that partners who were unable to work during those times do not miss out on entitlement to the State Pension.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of newly-retired women are being urged to check whether they’re entitled to £129 a week as part of a “little-known” state pension boost, because of a scheme which began in the 1940s.

Boris Johnson says Tories will cut National Insurance tax for millions of Brits if he wins next election
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