Income tax charge for tax year 2017-18

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:30 pm on 25 April 2017.

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Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (House of Lords) 1:30, 25 April 2017

I agree that it is a real problem that this increased minimum wage does not apply to people under 25. Just because a person is under 25 does not mean they are doing any less of a job than a person over 25, and the minimum wage should apply to them just as much as to those who are older.

The other issue is that the tax credit changes more than balance out the extra money people are getting from the increased minimum wage and personal allowance. People at the bottom of the pile are worse off as a result of the Government’s decisions. Despite the Government’s talk about how great the new personal allowance and the new minimum wage are, they have to be considered in context. People who work are worse off as a result of the tax credit changes.

More generally, the Government have made a few suggestions on the taxation of self-employment, some of which have been withdrawn and some of which have not. They intend to try to equalise the taxation of employment and self-employment. However, what is missing is that people in self-employment do not receive the same benefits as people in employment, such as maternity leave and holiday entitlement. I have argued before and will argue again that if the Government are making changes to self-employment, they need to do so in the round. The need to stop this piecemeal tinkering and consider the whole situation. They need to do a proper review and come back with the results, and then consult on any changes. Rather than pulling rabbits out of hats—changing national insurance contributions with very little consultation, for example—they need to consult properly on how taxation should look for individuals, whether they are employed or self-employed.

I appreciate that the Government are undertaking the Taylor review, but I am not sure it goes far enough. I would like to see the Taylor review, or a future Government review, take self-employment into account in the round by considering all the factors that face the self-employed. We need to remember the changes in the self-employment landscape in recent years. We have seen a massive increase in the number of women and older people in self-employment, and the Government’s changes do not take into account the changes in that landscape. I would like to see a holistic approach, rather than a tinkering approach.

That is all I have to say on this group but, again, I welcome the Government’s withdrawal of the dividend tax threshold changes.