Stevenage MP ‘delighted’ as government announces U-turn over National Insurance contribution increases

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said he saw 'brave police officers and security pulling public insid

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said he saw 'brave police officers and security pulling public inside to safety'. - Credit: Archant

The government’s decision to back down on increasing National Insurance contributions for small traders has been welcomed by Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland who led the campaign pushing the government to reconsider the matter.

A week ago, chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his budget statement that National Insurance contributions would rise by two per cent for self-employed workers by 2019 - breaking a Tory manifesto pledge.

It was estimated the move would hit 2.5 million self-employed people with a rise in NICs by an average £240 a year.

But Mr Hammond faced a huge media backlash on the issue and Mr McPartland spoke passionately in television interviews against the rise and added his voice to calls from backbenchers of all parties for the government to reconsider.

In a letter to Conservative MPs which was discussed by Prime Minister Theresa May in parliament today, Mr Hammond said that the measure would be ditched.

Mr McPartland said afterwards: “There was a lot of back channels and a lot of communication and we certainly made our views clear. I’m delighted they’ve decided it was a mistake and now we can move forward.

“I’m very pleased about the result. Instead of calling for some kind of fudge he’s admitted he’s made a mistake and we can move forward, this shows he is a strong chancellor.”

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Mr McPartland said the government’s ability to analyse the situation and change direction showed it was strong rather than weak as a BBC journalist put to him.

Watch Mr McPartland’s statement here.