Budget 2017 Shocker – Are You Serious, Mr Hammond?

In a continuation from my post last week about the problems caused by a work drought, I feel compelled to post again following the budget announcement that Class 4 National Insurance contributions would be going up by 2% in two years.Bag of money

I was writing an article about the Budget when the news broke in the media, otherwise I might not have seen the announcement until later that evening. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything too major, so the National Insurance news came as a bit of a shock, as it did to most people.

Like many freelancers, I live a perilous existence with no guaranteed income, no paid holidays, no sick pay, and no benefits other than the fact I can spend my days at home, working in PJs and keeping the cats company. Being self-employed is hardly a safe job. Employees are far more financially secure, yet the Chancellor is determined to make us pay even more tax. He justifies his actions by saying raising Class 4 NI contributions for the self-employed is levelling the playing field.

Well, Mr Hammond, I disagree.

This is nothing more than a tax grab, and a mean one at that. The Tory Manifesto promised not to hike National Insurance payments. Apparently, this was a hollow promise, like virtually everything else that comes out of a politician’s mouth.

Instead of raiding the bank accounts of aspirational entrepreneurs and the self-employed, who incidentally have kept the UK economy afloat in the last few years, why not look at ways of making the NHS more efficient and removing benefits from feckless, workshy scroungers who bleed the state dry? Or better still, try a bit harder to make big corporations like Amazon and Google pay their fair share of tax, instead of quietly doing deals on the side to keep them happy.

It wasn’t just self-employed people who were hit, either. Small businesses got a raw deal, too. Not only do they have to pay massively increased business rates if they have the temerity to operate in an area where property prices have soared, they now have to cope with a big increase in Flat Rate VAT. Directors of small businesses are also affected by the reduction of the tax free dividend allowance.

For a party that claims to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, actions speak louder than words. They better hope a General Election isn’t on the cards in the next few months, or it could get ugly. Even Jeremy Corben is looking attractive right now – and that’s saying something!

In a post-Budget update, howls of protests from numerous senior MPs have forced Theresa May to back down and announce that National Insurance legislative changes will be deferred until the autumn.

Let’s hope it never makes it through the Commons.

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