Hammond slammed for "rookie error" over national insurance contributions

 
Helen Cahill
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Hammond gave his first and last spring budget earlier this week (Source: Getty)

Chancellor Philip Hammond has been criticised for making a "rookie error" with his plans in increase national insurance contributions for the self employed.

Former Conservative chancellor Norman Lamont has raised concerns that Hammond's first spring budget has ruined the party's image for pursuing low-tax policies. The changes will mean up to 1.6m people will face an average rise of £240 per year to their national insurance contributions.

Read more: Editor's notes: Hammond falls down the cracks between politics and policy

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lamont said:

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.

Above all the chancellor should not increase taxes again to finance extra discretionary public spending.

The proposed tax increase has been causing disquiet within Conservative ranks because it breaks one of the party's manifesto pledges. The tax has also been portrayed as a tax hit to the "white man van".

Hammond has been defending the planned national insurance rise, dismissing concerns that he had broken a Conservative party manifesto promise.

However, Downing Street has refused to rule out a u-turn on the issue, and has merely said that "the Prime Minister and the chancellor have agreed on this Budget".

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