'Now's not the time to hike freelancers' NICs'
The current “unforgiving” climate for tiny enterprise makes it the least opportune time to redraft plans to raise National Insurance on freelancers, the government has been warned.
Such workers, “who don’t have the luxuries of sick or holiday pay” and so are real “strivers,” would be deterred if the plan to raise self-employed NICs was brought back, said the FSB.
The warning is a direct address to Philip Hammond, the chancellor, who first hatched the plan but then an outcry by the self-employed forced prime minister Theresa May to rub it out.
But before the general election, Mr Hammond reportedly said that the Tories would hold a Budget, should they be returned to office. This appears to be why the FSB is now stepping in.
“The last thing they [the self-employed] need is increased cost,” said federation national chair Mike Cherry, referring to the plan for a 2% rise in NICs.
“Clearly this is not the time to revisit [those] failed plans…it would act as a disincentive to business creation.”
The alert comes as the FSB’s confidence index showed a fall from +20 to +15 between April and June, representing the first fall in the index since the wake of the EU referendum.
When asked about threats they face, small traders were most likely to raise the domestic economy, followed by demand, labour costs and then the tax burden. The index also showed that operating costs for small businesses are now at their highest in four years.