BORIS Johnson is heading for a showdown with Tory rebels after vowing to press ahead with his £12billion a year National Insurance hike.
Downing Street officials yesterday quashed speculation the Prime Minister is poised for a U-turn on the policy following concerns about the cost of living.
And the punishing tax rise will go ahead with “no ifs, no buts”, it was said.
A Number 10 spokesman said: “We are committed to introducing that [tax rise] in April.”
But a backbench revolt against the increase was intensifying last night. A senior Tory MP called on the PM and Chancellor to urgently consider a windfall tax on energy firms and massive cuts in the overseas aid budget as alternative ways to raise billions for the NHS and social care system.
Former minister Robert Halfon said: “People across the country are worrying about feeding and clothing their families. Action must be taken to support the most vulnerable in our communities.”
His plea came as a forecast yesterday estimated that oil giants Shell and BP have netted eyewatering profits between them, while motorists face near record prices at the petrol pumps.
The Tory rift over the proposed 1.25 per cent hike in National Insurance contributions widened yesterday when Downing Street and Treasury officials attempted to end the doubts over whether the move will go ahead as scheduled.
Speculation has been growing after Mr Johnson appeared unwilling to publicly confirm the policy was going ahead.
Officials would only say there were “no plans” for a delay or cancellation of the tax rise.
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