Thousands of Londoners Hit by Increase in National Insurance Rates for Self-Employed

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 9, 2017 | Go to article overview

Thousands of Londoners Hit by Increase in National Insurance Rates for Self-Employed


Byline: Kate Proctor Political Reporter

LONDON and the South-East will be hit hardest by Chancellor Philip Hammond's tax rises.

His reforms to National Insurance contributions for the self-employed could affect 1.5 million people across the region.

In London, 850,000 people are registered as self-employed -- about 19 per cent of the population -- with 717,000 in the South-East. In the North-East, only 130,000 people are self-employed.

The highest concentration of selfemployed people in the UK is in West Ham, where 21,600 people work for themselves.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "The Government is forcing workers to pay for its reckless hard Brexit plans. It's a disgrace that thousands of hard-working entrepreneurs in London will be hit by a tax hike."

The constituencies of Ealing North, Chelsea and Fulham, Hampstead and Kilburn, Brentford and Isleworth and Hendon each have more than 15,000 residents who are sole traders.

By contrast, Mr Hammond's Runnymede and Weybridge constituency has 5,700 self-employed workers. There are 6,300 in Maidenhead, whose MP is Theresa May.

The London Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association described the increase in Class IV National Insurance contributions as "scandalous", saying the proposals could be the last straw for many cabbies.

Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, home to many black-cab drivers, said: "If you're earning PS20,000 a year -- not a lot in London to make ends meet -- your National Insurance bill will go up by PS20 a month.

"If you're on a high salary in a city like London you might be able to do without PS20 a month. But Evening Standard readers know with the cost of living rising, housing costs, energy bills -- that is a lot of money and the Tories are clobbering the wrong people."

The Chancellor has said 60 per cent of all self-employed people will see their taxes go down. The changes will affect only those who earn more than PS16,000.

Higher earners were also targeted in the Budget. The Chancellor has slashed the tax-free allowance on share dividends for directors and shareholders from PS5,000 to PS2,000 from 2018, saying it will hit those with shares worth more than PS50,000. The measure is set to raise PS2.6 million for the Treasury over four years.

But the Chancellor tried to dampen the row about business rates changes in London with a PS300 million additional relief fund for councils to help the hardest hit firms, on top of significant transitional funding. …

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