The Prime Minister’s former Brexit chief has joined the growing number of senior Conservatives to call for the planned national insurance hike to be scrapped.
Lord Frost has urged Boris Johnson not to raise the tax in April as cost-of-living is set to increase.
The former Brexit Minister – who resigned last month in protest at Government tax increases – told the Daily Mail that the £12 billion tax hike was “never necessary or justified”.
Lord Frost said: “Given the new pressures on energy prices and inflation, it’s even more important now to scrap these tax increases and focus on getting the economy growing again. Allowing people to keep more of their own money is always the best way.”
He added: “The tax rises this April were never necessary or justified”.
Lord Frost’s remarks come after former Brexit secretary David Davis also called for the proposed increase of 1.25 percentage points to be scrapped in the face of cost of living pressures.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the national insurance rise would remove about 10% of the disposable income of “ordinary families” and was based on the “wrong data”.
Mr Davis said: “It was a judgment made on, frankly, quite a lot of wrong data.
“They didn’t know at the time that by April we would have the highest inflation rate in 30 years, they didn’t know that interest rates would be going up, council tax would be going up, the fuel price is about to jump by £700 a year for the average family. Therefore, they didn’t know quite what pressure there would be on ordinary people.”
Despite senior Tories and business leaders calling for the tax hike to be abandoned, the Government looks set to plough ahead with the increase to national insurance.
During a visit to Milton Keynes Hospital on Monday, Mr Johnson told broadcasters “we have to pay for” NHS improvements.
He said: “The NHS has done an amazing job but it has been under terrible strain.
“Listen to what I’m saying: We’ve got to put that money in. We’ve got to make that investment in our NHS.
“What I’m telling people is, if you want to fund our fantastic NHS, we have to pay for it – and this Government is determined to do so.”
In a briefing with reporters, Downing Street defended the tax rise as the “right approach to tackle this long-standing problem”.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg is understood to have called for the move, which is designed to pay for long-term social care reforms, to be abandoned.
Official figures published last week showed that inflation soared to a near 30-year high of 5.4% in December, while an energy price cap rise in spring is set to stretch household budgets further.
The £36 billion that the Treasury forecasts the extra national insurance contributions will provide has been earmarked to clear the NHS backlog and then to fund social care improvements.