RISHI Sunak insists he will not scrap the hated National Insurance rise — despite a £13billion “tax windfall”.
The Treasury is under massive pressure to shelve the 1.25 percentage point hike to help families.
Rosy economic figures out yesterday reveal Britain borrowed £13billion less than expected this year due to the booming economy — enough to cover the £12billion cost of the NI rise in the first year.
But Chancellor Mr Sunak and PM Boris Johnson both doubled down on their plans.
Mr Sunak suggested he wanted to give the UK wriggle room if the economy gets tight.
He said: “Risks to the public finances, including from inflation, make it even more important that we avoid burdening future generations with high debt repayments.”
And the PM quashed hopes of a delay to the April rise.
His spokesman said: “There are no plans to change the approach, which will see the levy come into force this year to raise additional money to help tackle the NHS backlog, deal with social care and pay for a pay rise for nurses.”
The Office for Budget Responsibility said borrowing stands at £146.8billion — down 46.8 per cent on last year and £13billion below its October forecast.
MPs and think tanks urged the PM to ditch the hike. Senior Tory David Davis said: “It’s plain from the numbers they don’t need the NICs rise.”
Julian Jessop, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “This provides the ‘fiscal room’ to ditch the hike.”
The PM and Chancellor have told critics to “find the money another way” and they will consider axing the rise.
One Cabinet minister said: “Delaying it for another year might mean putting taxes up just before a possible election.”