This paper makes a rare contribution to understanding how taxation is used to fund social welfare, and the implications of that relationship. In the UK, National Insurance (NI) is a hypothecated tax used primarily to fund state old age pensions—a contributory welfare benefit. Through historical analysis, and the exemplar of the raising of the state pension age for women, this paper demonstrates that NI fails women and poorer people more than men and the better-off: creating serious problems of social equity. A solution is proposed: the abolition of NI with consequential adjustments to income and corporation taxes, and the introduction of a universal basic pension.
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