Cabinet call

Rees-Mogg calls for NI hike reversal as cost of living rises

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Household costs are rising

Boris Johnson has been urged to abandon a £12 billion hike in national insurance as concerns grow about the rising cost of living for millions of households.

Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg wants the rise shelved as energy and council tax bills top the list of costs expected to go up in the coming weeks.

During a Cabinet meeting he also called for a reduction in civil servants, according to sources.

The 1.25% rise in national insurance contributions due in April is opposed by many Tory MPs who fear a backlash at the polls as voters cope with soaring inflation.

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, was said to have refused to change course as it would mean having to find the money elsewhere.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, refused to be drawn on the exchange on Sky News this morning. “Cabinets take place in private, so I’m not going to get commenting on cabinet meeting content,” he said.

“We have plans to catch up on the backlog in NHS care which has come about unfortunately through coronavirus and that plan is being put into place. It is also true to say we want to make sure that we relieve tax pressures on [the] public as and when we can.”

Asked whether the government could change course on the national insurance rise, Mr Shapps added: “We’re absolutely committed to doing two things — one catching up on the backlog in the NHS and that’s why we have this national insurance increase, specifically for that purpose. And two sorting out the long-term issue of social care.

“So, no, we’re absolutely committed to making those changes — it’s a historic change that I think will bring a lot of security to families up and down the country.”

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