The national insurance rise will pile more misery on families already under siege from soaring bills, experts warned last night.
Households are being clobbered by relentless cost rises, and pensions and wages are failing to keep up with inflation.
Analysts say April’s tax grab – which will strip the average family of £600 a year – could prove too much for many.
The biggest strain on most household budgets is the energy crisis which has sent bills rocketing.
The price cap, which dictates how much suppliers can charge, has already risen by more than £100 but is predicted to surge by another £600 in April.
The gas price crisis has helped push inflation up to the highest level in 30 years at 5.4 per cent. But economists predict it will hit at least 6.4 per cent in April.
Analysis for the Daily Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research revealed on Monday that households were facing extra costs totalling £2,440 compared with before the pandemic.