The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has distanced herself from reports that the Government is considering hiking National Insurance contributions (NICs) by a penny in the pound to fund a boost in health spending.
Liz Truss denied claims that Tory MPs were being consulted about a potential 1% hike in NICs and stressed that the Conservative are a "low tax party".
She refused to rule out a rise in NICs over the course of the Parliament but made clear it is "incredibly important that we keep taxes low".
Ms Truss, who identifies as a Yorkshirewoman having attended Roundhay School in Leeds, also said she disagreed with the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which said after Chancellor Philip Hammond's Spring Statement on Tuesday that £30bn a year in tax rises would be needed to protect public spending and balance the books by the mid-2020s.
She refused to deny reports that a NICs hike was being considered to fund higher NHS spending, telling The Yorkshire Post: “I’m not going to make commitments on behalf of the whole Treasury."
But asked if Tory MPs were being consulted about the possibility of a rise in NICs, she said: “No.”
Mr Truss added: “Obviously at every fiscal event the Chancellor needs to make decisions based on what the public finances are, and what he made very clear at the Spring Statement is we would look at the situation come the autumn in terms of what’s happened in the economy.
“We’ve had some positive news recently, productivity has ticked up, we’ve seen manufacturing results that are the best for a considerable number of years, but we need to be sure about what the future looks like before we take those types of decisions.”
She went on: “The Conservatives are a low tax party, we believe in lowering taxes on individuals and businesses, that’s what generates economic growth and that’s very, very important.”