Spring Budget 2017: Junior barristers could be badly hit by hike in national insurance

Hayley Kirton
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The profession has already been hampered by legal aid cuts (Source: Getty)

Those trying to make a name for themselves in the courts have been dealt a blow by the impending hike in national insurance.

Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed in his maiden Budget yesterday that the class 4 National Insurance rate would be increased by one percentage point to 10 per cent from April 2018, and then by a further one percentage point to 11 per cent from April 2019.

The Treasury said the move would "reduce the gap in rates paid by the self-employed and employees".

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Now a spokesperson for the Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, has warned: "Any increase in the national insurance contribution will be felt in particular by junior barristers who work at legal aid rates which have been repeatedly cut."

The spokesperson added:

The long term impact any national insurance increases have on the self-employed Bar must be considered in light of the many challenges the Bar and other self-employed professionals face, such as the costs associated with maternity and paternity leave, pensions and overhead costs to name a few, not to mention the large costs associated with qualifying to become a barrister.

Many of the costs do not impact in the same way on employed professionals.

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The decision to raise the rate has already been slammed as a broken manifesto promise by some Tory backbenchers.

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