BORIS Johnson has broken his promise not to hike taxes, as he set out plans to overhaul adult social care and deal with the Covid backlog in the NHS.

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

He said the additional money would pay for the biggest catch-up programme in the history of the NHS in England.

He claims the £12 billion a year would help deal with a backlog of cases that have built up during the covid crisis.

The funds will also cover the reform of the social care system in England.

And ending what Downing Street described as “unpredictable and catastrophic” care costs faced by many families.

From October 2023, anyone with assets under £20,000 will have their care costs fully covered by the state, while those with between £20,000 and £100,000 will be expected to contribute to their costs but will also receive state support.

No-one will have to pay more than £86,000 for care costs in their lifetime.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an additional £2.2 billion in additional health and social care spending from the levy.

In addition to the health and social care levy, there will also be a 1.25 per cent increase in the dividend tax – to ensure those who receive their income from shares also contribute.

Initially, National Insurance contributions will increase by 1.25 per cent 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 payslips.

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 Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that only a broad-based tax like National Insurance or income tax could raise the kind of sums needed to deal with the problem.

He argued that National Insurance represented a fairer solution as employers – who also benefited from a healthy workforce – would contribute.

“This is a progressive and fair way to raise money,” the spokesman said.

Mr Johnson accepted his plans broke his 2019 election manifesto pledges but he blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for the change of approach.

The Prime Minister told MPs: “No Conservative government ever wants to raise taxes and I’ll be honest with the House, I accept that this breaks a manifesto commitment – which is not something I do lightly.

“But a global pandemic was in no-one’s manifesto, Mr Speaker.

“I think the people of this country understand that in their bones and they can see the enormous steps that this Government and the Treasury have taken.”

Commenting on the announcement in an online post, the Labour MP for Southampton Test, Alan Whitehead, said: “The Government is proposing a #socialcare plan that does little more than increase tax for young & working people. We need a coherent plan that fixes the challenges facing the current care sector & doesn't just shift the burden onto the lowest paid.”

Meanwhile, the Tory MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith, said: "For decades successive governments have swept social care under the carpet. Labour had 13 years and did nothing. I know the cost of care, my mother was in a dementia care home for four years. While I instinctively dislike taxes and tax rises I will support the Government because, unlike Labour, it has a plan."

Campaigners from Solent Women Against State Pension Inequality have also hit out.

The group fights for fair transitional state pension arrangements for women born on or after April 6, 1951.

A spokesperson said: "We already have one of the lowest State Pensions in Europe so any percentage increase on not very much results in... not very much. A reduction in mechanisms for protecting it is deeply regrettable and will hit women hardest as they are more likely to depend on the State Pension for their retirement income. Among them are Solent WASPI women - around 11,0000 in Southampton - who have already suffered DWP Maladministration and a delay of up to six years' pension payments without adequate notice. For them, it's a Triple Lock double blow."