DWP boss roasted on Channel 4 over ‘free’ pension plans for self-employed

The Conservative minister in charge of the Department for Work and Pensions was roasted by Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy, during an interview over the party’s latest plan to cut taxes for the self-employed. The interview quickly broke down after the presenter asked a few straightforward questions about

Over the course of the two-minute interview, the veteran Channel 4 News presenter raked the DWP boss over the coals for the Conservative’s latest pitch to their voter base. Guru-Murthy said this move would give the self-employed a pension “for free”, while workers have to rack up decades of in-work contributions to receive the full state pension.

The Conservatives, currently trailing by around 20 points in the polls, are pitching the complete abolition of NI for self-employed people, going against the system they set up for people to qualify for their pension. To get the minister to explain this, Guru-Murthy opened by asking: “In terms of the self-employed NI contributions, you’re getting rid of Class 4 contributions completely, so that’s a six per cent cut for anybody who is self-employed, is that right?”

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak whines he didn’t have Sky TV as a kid in interview he skipped D-Day for

Touting the cuts to National Insurance that Rishi Sunak has made since taking office 20 months ago, Mel Stride MP said: “Correct, we’ve already gone down from nine per cent to six, and well go from six per cent to zero by total abolition by the end of the next parliament.”

Krishnan Guru-Murthy crucifies Mel Stride on abolishing National Insurance for self employed and on pension

Mel Stride defended the Conservatives’ new policy to abolish National Insurance for the self-employed

Incredulous, the veteran Channel 4 presenter asked the minister: “But how do you qualify for your state pension?” To which the DWP boss said the self-employed would be given a “nil rate”, so they would still technically contribute to their pension, without paying anything.

Still not able to believe his ears, Guru-Murthy asked: “So, what? Self employed people will get a state pension for free now?” The DWP minister said: “They will make their contribution to the economy in the normal way, as we know the state pension is not hypothecated through NI, that’s a well-worn myth.”

The Channel 4 presenter cut over the minister, saying: “No, but in order to qualify for the state pension, you need a certain number of years of NI contributions.”

Pressing on despite the challenge, Mel Stride went on to say: “Yes and if you make those contributions at zero per cent, that would still leave room for qualification. But my point is, the state pension of course is funded through general taxation and self-employed people pay all sorts of taxes and make major contributions.”

With workers being asked to pay a certain amount of National Insurance before they qualify for the full state pension, the system that the DWP boss envisions would create a two-tiered society on pensions, for a six per cent tax cut.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy crucifies Mel Stride on abolishing National Insurance for self employed and on pension

Mel Stride MP defended the policy on Channel 4 News

Guru-Murthy challenged the minister, saying: “This is going to create quite an unfair system, between people who are employed who have to have 10 years of NI contributions in order to qualify for the state pension, and people who are self-employed, who don’t have to do anything.”

The DWP minister said: “As I say, there will be perfectly reasonable ways of making sure that self-employed people still qualify for their state pension…”

Cutting through, Krishnan said: “It doesn’t sound like you’ve worked it out.”