SCOTS could be hit with a £1 billion tax bombshell to fix the Tories’ social care failures in England, the SNP have warned.

And the party’s shadow chancellor said if the UK Government hiked National Insurance (NI) contributions to fund a reform in social care, it must guarantee that Scotland receives every penny it is due through Barnett consequentials.

Alison Thewliss was speaking after a Cabinet minister stressed the need to ensure the reforms are “adequately funded”.

She also highlighted that an increase in NI contributions would disproportionately hit lower and middle income earners – a large proportion of whom have already been left struggling after a decade of Tory austerity, Brexit and coronavirus.

READ MORE: Ruth Davidson's register of interests published by the Lords

Thewliss said: “The UK Government must give a cast-iron guarantee that Scotland will receive every penny we are due in Barnett consequentials if it moves ahead with Tory plans to hike National Insurance.

“Otherwise, it is essentially imposing a UK-wide tax to fund an England-only policy, which would be grossly unfair on Scottish taxpayers.

“It would see hard-working Scots, many on lower incomes, being forced to pay a £1bn Tory tax bombshell while receiving nothing in return – that would be an utter travesty which could not be allowed to stand.

“We shouldn’t have to ask for this commitment – it should be a given – but the Tories have shown time and again that they cannot be trusted to stand up for Scotland.”

A long-awaited announcement on the reforms has been touted for as soon as next week, and a manifesto-breaking NI hike is among the measures being considered.

Ministers have been debating how high the tax rise would have to be to fund the NHS and social care in England.

The National: Health Secretary Sajid Javid

A source close to English Health Secretary Sajid Javid (above) strongly denied he had pushed for an increase to NI as high as 2%, but did not dispute that he had argued for a rise of more than 1%.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be arguing against an increase higher than 1%, with any rise being a breach of the Tories’ 2019 manifesto.

Their former health secretary Jeremy Hunt urged the Government to “bite the bullet” and announce a tax hike, but warned against an increase in NI by saying it “disproportionately targets the young”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced criticism for a delay in setting out the reforms, after saying his plan was ready when he spoke on the steps of Downing Street in 2019.

Many newspapers have reported that new plans could be revealed next week when Parliament returns from its summer recess, and some have suggested that at least five Cabinet ministers would oppose the NI hike.

Hunt, chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee, said the “eye-watering” sums required were far bigger than what the Chancellor “can find down the back of a Treasury sofa”.

He told the BBC: “I’m really arguing that we need to bite the bullet and say there has to be a tax rise of some sort.”

Downing Street did not deny a tax rise was being considered, but stressed that no decisions have been made.

Vic Rayner, chief executive of the National Care Forum, said the upcoming proposals must “provide long-term ambition for people and communities rather than quick fixes”.

She added: “Reform must move beyond the narrow focus on capping costs if we are to have a proper public debate.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to bringing forward a long-term plan to reform the social care system and we will set out proposals this year.”