BUDGET – PLANNED HIKE IN NATIONAL INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS “WILL BE PARTICULARLY PAINFUL” – STEVE REED MP
The planned hike in national insurance contributions for the self-employed will be particularly painful to constituents in Croydon North, MP Steve Reed has told Parliament.
“Self-employed people work as taxi drivers, van drivers, hairdressers, plumbers, decorators, childminders—all sorts of jobs. “They work very long hours, often for very modest pay.
“In Croydon, well over one in 10 workers are self-employed. “It makes no sense whatsoever to clobber them with new tax rises. “They need help and support, not further barriers to work.
“Croydon North is one of the most ethnically diverse constituencies in the country. “Unfortunately, unemployment is particularly high among many minority communities.
“Their desire to work and their strong enterprising spirit means that many people from these communities set up their own businesses.”
Mr Reed asked Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John Martin McDonnell
Does my right hon. Friend agree with the Conservative Croydon councillor, James Thompson, who tweets: “Disgusted by this so-called Conservative government hitting the self-employed”.
Mr McDonnell replied:
I find it interesting that the response to yesterday’s statement has been anxiety right across the political spectrum.
Continuing, Mr Reed said perhaps Conservative members should have thought before they stood for election on a manifesto that said absolutely categorically that there would be “no increases in…National Insurance contributions”.
“It does nothing for trust in politics when politicians say one thing to persuade people to vote for them but then, once they are elected, do the polar opposite. “They are helping to further break trust in this House and trust in politics.
“Small businesses and the self-employed need reassurances, not broken promises.”
EMPLOYMENT: Turning to those in employment, Mr Reed said the Budget had very little to offer them either. “Low pay and stagnant wages have become endemic.
“Most people have seen no growth in household incomes in the 10 years since the global financial crash; indeed, many have seen a real-terms cut.
“The British economy might be getting richer, but British working people are getting poorer. Ours is the only advanced economy in which wages fell while the economy grew between 2007 and 2015.
“In Croydon, average earnings have fallen by 7.6 per cent in real terms, and today more than one third of my constituents earn less than a real living wage. “So where has the money gone? “Who has taken the proceeds of that growth?
“It is not the vast majority of people in Croydon or across Britain who work round the clock to pay the bills and put food on the table, but the shrinkingly small number of the super-rich whose interests this Government really represent.
“Wages are stuck and household debt is soaring, but the Chancellor had absolutely nothing to say about any of it.
“Once upon a time in this country, there was a covenant between people and Government. “People gave their consent to the system in return for a fair reward for the work they put in.
“There was an understanding that if people worked hard, they would do well. “They could expect a decent home, security for their family, and healthcare when they fell ill or grew old, and that if they could not work, they would be looked after with dignity and respect.
“But today that covenant is broken. “The unfairness and inequality that this Government stoke has bred resentment that has catapulted us out of the European Union and over a cliff edge into uncertainty.”