Hannah Bardell MP said a tax hike on national insurance will hit self-employed workers throughout the UK. The SNP’s business engagement, small businesses, and innovation spokesperson commented:

“Amid the” utter chaos of a hard Tory Brexit, a hike on NICs threatens to undermine and deter the type of entrepreneurial behaviour that we should seek to encourage.

The latest development could create significant hardship for self-employed workers throughout the UK.
Amid a utter chaos of a hard Tory Brexit, this change threatens to undermine and deter the type of entrepreneurial behaviour that we should seek to encourage.

“The SNP wholeheartedly believes in a flexible labour market, but that flexibility must be guarded against vulnerability. Some self-employed workers in the UK, particularly those on low incomes, do not always enjoy the same guarantees as those in employment such as pensions and sick leave. The UK Government has a poor track record on workers protection and rights, and it is vital that we seek every option to ensure that self employed workers are fully protected.

“The geographical disposition and economic landscape of Scotland means that some areas may be disproportionately hit by this unexpected change in policy. Many workers in the oil and gas industry for example are self employed. Whilst the industry shows signs of recovery thanks to the incredible effort of workers across the sector, the UK Government’s move could unfairly penalise workers at an already difficult time. Moreover, there is an ongoing concern that this change could hit households in rural economies.”

Chris Bryce, IPSE Chief Executive, stated: “If you are one of the hardworking self-employed people who face a significant increase on your tax bill, you might feel that the Chancellor has it in for you… The Chancellor shouldn’t forget that growth in self-employment has driven our labour market in recent years and punitive rises in tax will make many people have second thoughts about striking out on their own.”

Hannah continued: “The way in which this has been handled is notably poor. The UK Government must not continue down a scorned path of making snap decisions without involving the business community. Communicating with those who will face negative repercussions as a result of decisions made is absolutely vital if they seek to be taken seriously as a pro-business government, particularly amid this level of ongoing uncertainty.

“The UK has one of the most complex tax codes in the entire world. If the UK Government is serious about tax efficiency, they should halt their agenda of cherry-picked policies that tinker around the edges, and create a simplified tax code that reflects and celebrates the diversity of our economy. Simplifying the tax code would go a long way to closing the ever-widening tax loophole and to rapidly gaining tax yield.”