RISHI Sunak refused to back down on the hated National Insurance tax rise last night — even with Brits facing double-digit inflation for the first time in 40 years.
The Chancellor insisted the “decision is done”.
Mr Sunak said hiking taxes was “the last thing I wanted to do” but claimed he had to try to balance the books so the burden of Covid did not fall on kids for years to come.
However, last night there was growing speculation he could effectively cancel out April’s rise for millions by raising National Insurance thresholds to £11,300.
The move would cost the Treasury £5billion, but that would be covered by higher tax receipts due to soaring inflation.
And Mr Sunak vowed at the Tory spring conference in Blackpool to “get the tax burden down” over the last few years of the Parliament.
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Critics said help was needed now — with mortgages, fuel and food prices are all set to soar even further after the Bank of England raised interest rates this week.
It warned the Ukraine crisis would push up inflation to eight per cent by June, and it could top ten per cent by the end of the year.
Ministers have announced a £150 council tax rebate and a £200 energy bills loan.
And in a hint that more help could be on the way, Mr Sunak said: “I have enormous sympathy for what people are going through at the moment and that’s why we will always be there to help make a difference where we can.”
But he went on: “No government can solve every problem, particularly when you are grappling with global inflationary forces.
“They are somewhat out of my control.”
Meanwhile Brexit Opportunities chief Jacob Rees Mogg told a Conservative Home event: “National Insurance is a matter for the Chancellor, but the Conservative party is one of low taxation.
“We are at an abnormally high level. The Conservatives need to get back to being a tax-cutting Government.”
Tory Chairman Oliver Dowden told HOAR he “stood by” the rise but added: “We need to make sure that is the absolute peak of government spending.
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“I want to cut taxes as soon as they possibly can be. We need to start looking to how we control government spending.”
Last night Mark Littlewood, of he Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, said: “An increase in National Insurance contributions is effectively a tax on jobs.”