You’d have thought that as he prepares to lead the UK economy through Brexit, the
Chancellor would be supporting its most productive sectors. Instead, Hammond seems to have it in for the growing and dynamic self-employed sector.
He actually seems hell bent on strangling this golden goose that lays a £255bn golden egg for the economy each year! In fact, since he first set foot in 11 Downing Street, the supposedly pro-business Chancellor has been waging a war on the self-employed. Since last year he has:
- Tried to increase Class 4 National Insurance for all self-employed people – then
was forced to make an embarrassing u-turn on it;
- Increased the burden of dividend taxes at the first chance he got, hitting thousands of small businesses working through a limited company;
- Introduced disastrous changes to IR35 tax laws for freelancers in the public sector;
- Delayed scrapping Class 2 National Insurance contributions, costing every self-
employed person £150;
- Pushed ahead with Universal Credit, despite it having devastating effects on self-employed people who are just starting out or on fluctuating incomes.
And now it looks like heavy-handed Hammond is at it again. On Wednesday he is expected to announce another attack on freelancers: the extension of the disastrous changes to IR35 into the private sector. Many MPs with small majorities will already have received warnings from their constituents – will the Chancellor get the message too?
It’s not just professional freelancers Hammond has got it in for either! There are also reports he’s planning to lower the VAT threshold, which would hit hundreds of thousands of the UK’s smallest businesses, even hobbyists selling through the likes of Ebay.
It’s already been said that rather than supporting the self-employed sector, he’s stifling it. Well, now it looks like he plans to strangle it with reams of red tape too! When will the Chancellor see sense and call off this destructive war on the self-employed?
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