The Liberal Democrats have criticised the Conservative government over its plans to raise taxes on the self-employed, as figures reveal the New Forest will be among the hardest hit districts in the region.

The Chancellor broke a Conservative manifesto pledge by proposing to increase National Insurance contributions for the self-employed, hitting them with an average cost of £240 a year.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show there are over 15,700 self-employed workers in the New Forest, making up nearly 16% of the total workforce.

The government has also announced cuts to corporation tax are still set to go ahead at a cost of over £2.5 billion a year.

Local Liberal Democrat Chair, Cllr Jack Davies, commented:

“This will come as a major shock to the thousands of self-employed people in the  New Forest already facing a Brexit squeeze to living standards.

“This government is giving tax cuts to wealthy corporations and tax rises to hard-working entrepreneurs.

“Meanwhile companies will continue to save money by using workers without giving them the security and benefits of staff jobs.

“I challenge both Desmond Swayne and Julian Lewis to make clear about whether they knew this change was coming and whether they will now vote against it.”

*Data is from the Office for National Statistics Annual Population Survey (Sept – Oct 2016)

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