BORIS Johnson has confirmed his government will abandon a key manifesto pledge as it raises the main rates of tax.

In a Commons statement, the Prime Minister announced a new UK-wide 1.25% “health and social care levy” based on National Insurance contributions.

The tax hike is designed to pay for health reforms in England, but it has been branded a new “Tory poll tax” in Scotland.

National Insurance contributions will increase by 1.25% from April 2022 as systems are updated. From 2023, the health and social care levy element will then be separated out and the exact amount employees pay will be visible on their pay slips.

READ MORE: National Insurance rise is a 'Union dividend', Boris Johnson claims

It will be paid by all working adults, including those over the state pension age – unlike other National Insurance contributions.

Downing Street said that a typical basic rate taxpayer earning £24,100 would contribute £3.46 a week, while a higher rate taxpayer on £67,100 would pay £7.15 a week.

The move has sparked outrage from opposition politicians, business leaders and even Tory MPs – not least because Conservative leaders have repeatedly insisted they would not raise taxes.

Here are five times Tory chiefs promised not to increase National Insurance payments.

1. Manifesto

A key part of the Tory manifesto ahead of the 2019 General Election came under the heading “the Boris Johnson guarantee”.

It included six key pledges, such as extra funding for the NHS, increasing the number of police officers, introducing a new “Australian-style” immigration system, investing in schools and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

The final pledge reads: “We will not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance.”

The National:

Announcing the U-turn in Parliament, Johnson acknowledged he was breaching an election commitment but told MPs "a global pandemic was in no-one's manifesto".

2. Sajid Javid

In June 2020, having been sacked in February as chancellor by Johnson, Sajid Javid baulked at the prospect of raising National Insurance contributions.

So opposed to the idea was the Tory MP that he backed plans to cut the tax.

The National: Sajid Javid

In a report for the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, he proposes reductions in the levy for employers, describing attempts to increase taxes as “self-defeating”.

Yet fast forward to September 2021 and Javid, recently welcomed back to the Cabinet as Health Secretary, is supporting the PM’s plans to increase National Insurance.

3. Johnson doubles down

In July 2020, as public spending soared due to the pandemic, the Prime Minister was urged to provide reassurance that he would stick by his personal manifesto promise.

“I don’t normally talk about fiscal stuff because I leave that to Rishi [Sunak] the Chancellor but what is in the manifesto is in the manifesto,” he said.

The National: Boris Johnson

“We were elected, we got a big majority from the British people to deliver on that manifesto and we are very, very sincere in wanting to do that. All other fiscal questions you’ll have to direct to the Chancellor.”

Pressed by the Yorkshire Post to guarantee that he was sticking to his National Insurance commitment, Johnson replied: “Yes, it stands.”

4. Rishi Sunak

In March of this year, and Rishi Suank remained adamant that the UK Government would not abandon its promise.

The Chancellor, announcing the Budget, insisted that Downing Street would not be raising the rates of income tax, National Insurance or VAT.

The Chancellor said he did not believe it would be right to increase the rates of tax on working people, telling MPs: “I believe our approach, while bold, is compatible with our duty as a fiscally responsible and business friendly government.

“This is the right choice and I’m confident it will command public assent.”

Social media users have been quick to remind the Tory minister of this pledge from just six months ago.

5. Paul Scully

And as recently as July, Conservative ministers still denied that their government was planning on ditching the manifesto pledge.

In an interview with Sky News, business minister Paul Scully described reports that Johnson was set to increase National Insurance contributions as "not something I recognise".

Scully, the Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam, said he was "not going to get involved in speculation" but repeated "it's not something I recognise".

He added: "What we do want to happen is we come up with a comprehensive program to tackle social care.

“This issue has been around a long time and really do need to get to grips with it. That's what the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary are really determined to do."