If you read Hammond’s open letter to MPs he says that increasing benefits for the self employed has to be matched by increased contributions. However, these benefits will not be explained in detail until later this year. What he actually doing is putting things in the right order. You can’t expect people to cough up extra unless they know what they’re getting for it!
He is pressing ahead with the abolition of Class 2 NI. Unsurprisingly nobody is objecting to that and it does mean that the self employed will now pay less – so the inequality between contributions and benefits is now even greater. If I was an employee, I’d be protesting about that bit of unfairness. It just goes to prove that you really can’t please all of the people all of the time…
At the end of the day, the government has listened to the reaction to the proposed changes and modified its approach. The opposition make much of this, saying the government is in disarray and chaos which is, of course, nonsense.
Personally I saw nothing wrong with the changes announced but they were badly explained. And at the end of the day a government that listens and responds to public opinion can’t be a bad thing can it?