Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:13 pm on 8th March 2017.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 5:13 pm, 8th March 2017

That brings us back to the same crux of the problem, which is that we are treating everybody with self-employed status as though they were living in the same way, but they are manifestly not. There is a distinction to be drawn between risk-takers and entrepreneurs, and those who are effectively employed but are treated as self-employed. That is the issue, but it will not be tackled by today’s change.

Likewise, the digitisation of tax will affect many sole traders and small business people. It is welcome that the proposal has been delayed for a year, but we all know about the problems that will make it difficult and, frankly, I do not see many of them being resolved in a year. All we have done is kick the can down the road.

The Liberal Democrats welcome the extra money for social care, but I fear that it will ultimately be inadequate, and that we will be in the middle of another NHS winter crisis this time next year. I wonder how many more crises our NHS will be able to sustain while retaining good-quality staff and providing the service that we enjoy at present.

My final point is about spirits duty—[Interruption.] I do hope that I am not intruding on the shadow Chancellor.