More than 1,500 self-employed people in Na h-Eileanan an Iar could be hit by a tax rise next year as a result of yesterday’s Budget announcement by the UK Government.


Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil is very concerned about the impact this would have on small businesses in the Highlands and Islands where a higher than average proportion of the population are self-employed.


Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, made the shock announcement yesterday in his final Spring budget speech.


Mr MacNeil said the SNP would oppose this tax grab by the Tory Government and continue to stand up for entrepreneurs.


He said: “Entrepreneurs are key to the success of the economy particularly in fragile economic areas like Na h-Eileanan an Iar. Self-employed people do not have the same protection as employees and an additional tax rise is a betrayal by the UK Government who said they would not do this.


“Amid the chaos of a hard Tory Brexit, a hike on National Insurance Contributions threatens to undermine and deter the type of entrepreneurial behaviour that we should seek to encourage.


“The SNP wholeheartedly believe in a flexible labour market, but that flexibility must be guarded against vulnerability.

“The UK Government has a poor track record on workers protection and rights, and it is vital that we seek every option to ensure that self-employed workers are fully protected.


“The islands would be disproportionately hit by this unexpected change in policy.


“Yesterday’s Budget reiterated that this Tory Government remains committed to an austerity agenda and does nothing to address what a hard Tory Brexit will mean for Scotland and the wider economy.


“Scotland’s budget faces a real terms cut of £2.9 billion as a result of ten years of a Tory Government that the people of Scotland did not vote for.”

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