Stevenage MP rebels against his own government calling for it to back down over increased taxation for small business owners
- Credit: Archant
Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland has launched a scathing attack on his own Chancellor for increasing tax on those who run small businesses.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his budget statement on Wednesday that he National Insurance contributions will rise by two per cent for self-employed workers by 2019 - breaking a Tory manifesto pledge.
It is estimated the move will hit 2.5 million self-employed people with a rise in NICs by an average £240 a year.
But Mr Hammond has faced a huge media backlash on the issue and Mr McPartland has added his voice to calls from backbenchers of all parties for the government to reconsider the move.
He spoke on Channel 4 News yesterday, saying: “I’m not pleased at all. I think the chancellor needs to do a u-turn and do it quickly.
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“It affects a huge number of people, ordinary working families who’ve set up small businesses and taken a risk to do so. Many of them employ apprentices and are the backbone of our economy.”
There are an estimated 7,000 people operating small businesses in Stevenage.
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Torsten Bell of the Resolution Foundation argued back at him that there are 40,000 employees in Stevenage who already pay more for National Insurance,
But Mr McPartland said small business owners are often on small amounts of money and need to be protected.
Backbenchers are continuing to press Mr Hammond on the issue, but he told the BBC today he would not back down, saying the move was “a basic question of fairness”.
“I’m always prepared to listen to backbenchers, but I have made a decision here to make the national insurance system a bit fairer,” he said. He argued that taxation on the self-employed and employed should be more closely aligned, and that he had to raise taxes in the Budget “in an extremely constrained environment” to provide emergency funding for social care.