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North Norfolk could be hardest hit by National Insurance Contribution rise

PUBLISHED: 12:51 10 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:34 10 March 2017

Philip Hammond and Prime Minister Theresa May listens as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responds to the Chancellor's Budget statement to MPs in the House of Commons. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 8, 2017. See PA story BUDGET Main. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

Philip Hammond and Prime Minister Theresa May listens as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responds to the Chancellor's Budget statement to MPs in the House of Commons. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 8, 2017. See PA story BUDGET Main. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

Workers in North Norfolk could be the hardest hit by the chancellor's controversial National Insurance Contribution revenue raiser.

Figures show the area has the highest proportion of self-employed workers in the region, who could see their tax bills rise after Philip Hammond unveiled plans for a 2pc hike in Class 4 national insurance contributions for the self-employed.

The move has been criticised by opposition MPs and a number of the government’s own backbenchers.

Figures show that almost one in six people in the North Norfolk constituency class themselves as self-employed.

But the government has insisted that the move is fair in the light of the abolition of the separate Class 2 payments as well as improvements to the benefits received by self-employed people.

A review of modern employment practices by RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor, due to report over the summer, will be followed by a Government paper which is expected to include proposals to extend benefits such as parental leave to the self-employed.

But North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said: “These changes will come as a major shock the thousands of self-employed people in Norfolk already facing a hit to living standards from rising prices.

“The Conservatives have broken a clear manifesto pledge.”

In a Brussels press conference on Thursday, the prime minister promised to listen to concerns raised by Conservative MPs and said there would be no vote until the autumn on the £2 billion hike in NICs for the self-employed.

She acknowledged that the Budget had meant “difficult decisions” but insisted it was vital to close the gap between the amount of tax paid by the self-employed and those in “traditional” employment.

The rise in people in self-employment risked eroding the tax base, leaving public services short of funding, she warned.

And she said: “This is a change that leaves lower-paid self-employed workers better off; it’s accompanied by more rights and protections for self-employed workers and it reforms the system of National Insurance to make it simpler, to make if fairer and to make it more progressive.” Labour has opposed the move.

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