AS A ‘free-lance’, ‘self-employed’ worker myself, I was as surprised as anyone by the Chancellor’s budget breach of faith from the 2015 Tory party manifesto, in which no new taxes were promised.
The self-employed, whether they work as builders, painters, consultants, or hairdressers, are in a different world from those who receive regular incomes.
While being free to work for yourself does allow certain freedoms, we have no job security, often no company pension provision, and frequently no insurance against being unable to work if sickness or an accident intervenes.
According to the office for national statistics, since the economic crash of 2008, the numbers of self employed in the UK have gone up from 3.8 million to 4.6 million in 2016, and this seems set only to increase as more of us find ourselves only able to find work where we can make these opportunities.
As a result, household income, can fluctuate from year to year, with a good year often having to balance out one with less work.
Hammond’s idea is thus not only a broken general election promise, and before you say anything, as a Liberal Democrat I have had that particular brickbat thrown at me enough times, but also profoundly unfair to self-employed workers.
Meanwhile the row in Downing Street over this seems to have become nasty, with the ‘nasty party’ seemingly becoming as nasty to each other as they are to the rest of us.
DR BRIAN MATHEW
Liberal Democrat prospective MP for North Wiltshire