North Norfolk could be hardest hit by National Insurance Contribution rise

Hammond also announced that he would provide financial support to small businesses, setting aside 300 million pounds to help with business rates, and supporting 90 percent of pubs with a 1000 pound payment to help with rates.

The spokesman said the paper would spell out changes to the self-employed but also what new rights they might get.

Hammond, one suspects, is already beginning to regret his gag as Lamont today became the latest Conservative to damn his plans to raise National Insurance contributions on the self-employed.

Their criticism led the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg to speculate that the National Insurance increase would be "easier to defeat" now.

A review of modern employment practices by RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor is due over the summer.

The changes will mean up to 1.6m people will face an average rise of £240 per year to their national insurance contributions.

The prime minister claimed the move towards self employment was "eroding the tax base".

While adopting a conciliatory tone, the Prime Minister mounted a strong defence of the reforms, highlighting analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies saying the current system "distorts decisions, creates complexity and is unfair".

She said: "The Chancellor said this was a Budget created to build an economy that works for everyone, but the five million small businesses in the United Kingdom who make a major contribution to the country's economy, could be left feeling that they are shouldering more than their fair share of the financial burden".

"I personally do not favour anything that puts a burden on small businesses, as we need as much small business activity as possible in the run up to Brexit". I think it is fair to close the gap in contributions between two people doing the same work and using the same public services to make the same contribution to wider society'.

May was dismissive of the idea that the changes had broken the Tories' 2015 manifesto commitment.

She said the promise related to not raising class 1 contributions paid by employees and did not apply to the self-employed. Welsh Office junior minister Guto Bebb could be facing the sack for declaring in a radio interview: "I think we should apologise". "There is a very clear view that the Treasury should have politically flagged the risk".

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have criticised the change - as did more than a dozen Conservative MPs, including Iain Duncan Smith, John Redwood, Anna Soubry and Dominic Raab.

He added that May should "show some leadership, rather than this partial U-turn, and just scrap these tax rises for low and middle earners altogether".

  • Zachary Reyes