Downing Street is refusing to rule out a u-turn on a National Insurance tax hike for the self-employed

Mark Sands
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The Chancellor Of The Exchequer Leaves Downing Street To Present The 2017 Budget To Parliament
NICs for the self-employed will increase from nine to 11 per cent over two years (Source: Getty)

Chancellor Philip Hammond's plan to hike National Insurance contributions (NICs) for self-employed workers has continued to generate controversy, with Downing Street today refusing to rule out a review of the scheme.

Hammond has been at pains to defend the plans today, but increasing numbers of Tory MPs have come out against the plan to up NICs from nine per cent to 11 per cent over two years for the self-employed.

John Redwood was among the first to hit out in his response to the Budget in the House of Commons yesterday, and the numbers of rebels have continued to grow, with their most high-profile recruit the former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

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Duncan Smith told Sky News earlier today that he hoped the chancellor would "reflect" on the decision before the Autumn Statement.

It brings the number of Tories to have come out against the plan to more than 10, with the government's working majority currently sitting at 17.

A Downing Street spokesman said today that "the Prime Minister and the chancellor have agreed on this Budget", but repeatedly refused to state that the measure would not be reviewed in light of the growing backlash.

Parliamentary rules mean the government will need to introduce the NICs changes in a separate piece of legislation to the rest of the Budget.

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