UK

Norman Lamont Calls Philip Hammond's Tax Hike A 'Rookie Mistake'

The National Insurance raise for the self-employed broke an election manifesto pledge.

11/03/2017 13:51 GMT

Former Tory chancellor Norman Lamont has joined the ranks of those criticising Philip Hammond’s tax hike for the self-employed.

The current chancellor announced the rise in National Insurance Contributions in Wednesday’s Budget.

But Lamont said that he feared that Hammond’s announcement, which breaks a Conservative election manifesto pledge, was a “rookie error”.

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Norman Lamont has voiced his criticism of Philip Hammond's announcement

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: “Election pledges should not be lightly given – to have committed oneself to not raising VAT, income tax and National Insurance all at the same time was unwise in the extreme – and tax pledges cannot be lightly cast aside.

“My guess is that, in time, the Chancellor’s tax raid on the self-employed will be seen as a rookie error.

“He is fortunate in having plenty of time to regain trust on tax before the next election.”

Hammond’s announcement saw him shredded on almost every front page this week - even the usually Tory-friendly press.

Daily Mail
Philip Hammond was slammed in the press for the announcement

But Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that the controversial Budget changes to National Insurance Contributions for self-employed workers will make the system “simpler, fairer and more progressive”.

Hammond himself has also defended it as a “basic question of fairness” as only the richest people would be paying any more.

The government is facing a rebellion from its own MPs after Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the move amid fears it will punish entrepreneurship.

Many Tories have been openly critical of the measure.

MP Stephen McPartland said the hike would “tax those families who have taken on the risk of setting up their own small business, many of which employ apprentices and are the backbone of our economy”. 

While former leader Iain Duncan Smith said the measure would hit “people who choose an enterprise process” and hoped it would be reviewed in the Autumn Budget.