Sunday, 12 March 2017

New Statesman: Reforming national insurance might not be popular in Westminster - but it is the right thing to do

New Statesman: Reforming national insurance might not be popular in Westminster - but it is the right thing to do

by Torsten Bell

"Raising taxes is hard for Chancellors to do. That shouldn’t be a surprise; saints aside, most human beings would rather not have less cash in their pocket. But that can’t be the end of any discussion on tax, unless you’d rather not have any schools, roads or the NHS.

That’s why it’s time to put some perspective back into the political hot air that has followed the Chancellor’s decision to raise National Insurance for the self-employed, because this change is fundamentally the right thing to do.

The first part of that perspective is to recognise that this is a tiny tax rise. £200 million a year is a lot to you and me, but is lost in the roundings at the Treasury. For example it pales into insignificance compared to the more than £12 billion worth of benefit cuts being rolled out over the next few years. These mean the incomes of the bottom third of working-age households are expected to fall – a fact which is not exactly filling the front pages of newspapers."

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