Budget 2017: Theresa May accused of partial U-turn to quell potential Tory revolt over NI hike

Budget 2017: Theresa May accused of partial U-turn to quell potential Tory revolt over NI hike

Labour have claimed the Prime Minister's statement as a partial victory

Friday, March 10, 2017

Labour have accused Theresa May of a partial U-turn in order to quell a potential backbench revolt over the Budget's National Insurance (NI) increase for self-employed workers.

A number of Conservative MPs have voiced their concerns over the measure announced by Philip Hammond, which would see National Insurance contributions for self-employed people rise up to 2%.

The Chancellor has robustly defended the alteration, which is seen by many as breaking a pledge in the Tory party 2015 election manifesto to not raise tax or NI payments. 

The Prime Minister defended the "fair" change, but at the same time vowed that Mr Hammond will listen to MPs' concerns and revealed that the new measures will not be put to the vote until autumn.

She said: "People will be able to look at the Government paper when we produce it, showing all our changes and take a judgment in the round."

"Of course the Chancellor will be speaking, as will his ministers, to MPs, business people and others to listen to the concerns.

"But this is a change that leaves lower-paid self-employed workers better off. It's more rights and protections for self-employed workers and reforms the NI system to make it simpler, fairer and more progressive."

However, Labour have claimed this as a partial victory, blasting the Government for being "in disarray."

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: "The Prime Minister won't fully support her own Chancellor's measure, and has been forced by Labour to row back on it just 24 hours after he delivered his speech in Parliament.

"It shows the level of disarray existing at the top of government."