Saturday 24 July 2021 9:50 am

Tory poll lead collapses amid tax hike revolt

The Conservative Party’s lead in the polls has slumped to its lowest in more than six months as Prime Minister Boris Johnson braces for a revolt over tax rises.

The Tory margin over Labour has fallen from 13 percentage points to just four, according to a Yougov survey conducted this week for the Times.

The poll showed support for the Conservatives stood at 38 per cent, down six per cent on the previous week. Labour was up three per cent on 34 per cent.

It marks Johnson’s smallest lead since mid-February when the country was deep in its third national lockdown, and the lowest Tory share since late January.

The figures will raise concerns over the prime minister’s leadership after he attempted to avoid self-isolation when health secretary Sajid Javid tested positive for the virus.

Johnson is also facing a potential Cabinet revolt over plans to hike national insurance to fund an overhaul of social care, despite a manifesto pledge not to increase the levy, income tax or VAT.

The prime minister is said to be considering plans to raise National Insurance payments by one percentage point for employers and employees to raise £10bn a year to help support the ageing population.

“There is no way there is a majority in the cabinet in favour of this. We haven’t been asked,” one Cabinet minister told the Times.

Instead some in the Cabinet are reportedly pushing for the government to present Labour with a small number of funding options to let the opposition party choose their preference.

This would reflect the 2019 Conservative manifesto promise to reach a “cross-party consensus” on social care.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng this week came out in opposition to the planned tax hike, saying he hoped the manifesto promise would not be broken and adding: “I don’t see how we could increase national insurance.”