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I am suffering from a slipped disc and sciatica at the moment, but I am lucky. Not lucky to be in so much pain, but to be employed. What is more, I also (mainly) work from home, so I don’t have a tiresome commute each morning and evening. I also benefit from all the protections of being employed such as paid annual leave and sick pay.
I also know what it’s like to be self-employed. I was self-employed for 15 years and although there are benefits to self-employment such as flexibility, working the hours that you want to work, the reality is that you tend to work all the hours that God sends because you never know when you are going to get a slack period. You also never know when you are going to get sick and there isn’t any sick pay to fall back on. If you want to go on holiday, there isn’t any paid annual leave.
For most of the fifteen years I was self-employed, it suited me. It’s horses for courses, but for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give the impression that the army of self-employed people in this country have somehow got an easy life because they pay lower National Insurance contributions (NICs) is just plain stupid.
If anything, the Chancellor should have reduced the NICs for the self-employed, not that we should still have NICs – the whole system should have been streamlined years ago. NICs are just a tax by another name and are conveniently used as a method to hide the true marginal rate of taxation.
This morning Philip Hammond is doing the rounds of the TV and radio studios saying that he will not perform a U-Turn. By the end of this month, he will have performed a U-Turn. Increasing taxation for those who aspire to a better life for their family and themselves sends out all the wrong messages and for the Conservatives, it will be electorally damaging.