· PM should drop NIC rise for the self-employed
· Budget announcement has caused confusion
· Self-employed people already facing significant burdens
Ulster Unionist MP Tom Elliott has criticised the confusion for the self-employed surrounding last week’s Spring Budget Statement.
Mr. Elliott said:
“Last Wednesday, Westminster colleagues and I sat in the House of Commons and heard the Chancellor Philip Hammond announce measures within the Spring Budget to raise National Insurance contributions (NICS) for self-employed people by 2% by April 2019. By the end of the week the Prime Minister told the media that MPs would not vote on the changes until the autumn. The apparent roll-back from the policy has caused confusion and concern for the many self-employed within my constituency and I’m sure across the entire United Kingdom. It is not fair to toy with the livelihoods of so many, especially those in society that create wealth and jobs as a result of their entrepreneurship.
“The Conservatives’ 2015 General Election manifesto clearly states that if they were in power there would be no rises in National Insurance, VAT and income tax during the lifetime of the current Parliament. The PM has had to ‘kick the can’ down the road as the Government faced losing a vote on the Budget due to many of her own MPs being incensed over the broken pledge. The Government can be assured that Ulster Unionist MPs will vote against any measure which sees our self-employed being punished for starting their own businesses.
“The Treasury estimates that almost 2.5 million self-employed workers will face a rise in their NICs averaging £240 a year. Northern Ireland has always had a proud tradition of a large self-employed sector, especially in recent times as the recession, followed by cuts in the public sector, forced people to create their own jobs as many employment opportunities and local investment dried up. This is particularly prevalent in rural constituencies like Fermanagh and South Tyrone which has a large proportion of its self-employed within the agricultural sector. With the current state of agriculture, this is the last thing our farmers need.
“I call on the Prime Minister to drop these planned changes and relieve the pressure upon self-employed people who are already facing significant burdens.”