08 March 2017
DUP MP Sammy Wilson has welcomed announcements on broadband and a one-year deferral for the mandating of Making Tax Digital for Business within the Spring Budget. However, he raised concerns about the impact of increases in National Insurance contributions on self-employed people and the level of dependence on consumer borrowing.
DUP Parliamentary Spokesman on Education, Treasury and the Department of Work & Pensions.
Commenting from Westminster the East Antrim MP said, “The additional investment in broadband innovation will be welcomed, particularly across many rural areas of Northern Ireland. Innovation in the market is necessary as many people only have one choice for broadband and that monopoly stifles the necessary innovation.
Many businesses will welcome the one-year deferral for the mandating of Making Tax Digital for Business (MTDfB). These proposals will cause problems for many businesses, and particularly those with restricted access to the internet who would be forced to rely more heavily on accountants and bear an additional cost. Having accepted that this proposal will cause problems for businesses and I would hope that reasons for extending and delaying it will be applied to future years.
There should be concerns however that the forecast for growth is still heavily dependent on consumer spending and that spending is dependent upon borrowing We must ask why is it ok for growth to be fuelled by high levels of consumer debt, but the government will not accept that infrastructure projects can have significant economic benefits funded through marginal increases in spending.
The increase in National Insurance contributions for self-employed will impose a significant additional burden on people who are contributing to our economy and making a significant reduction in unemployment figures. These are people who work long hours, for often relatively little reward, many of whom may not be able to absorb the additional costs imposed by this.
Whilst there are concerns about aspects, I particularly welcome the Chancellor’s comments at the beginning of his speech that this budget was designed to prepare the United Kingdom for a brighter future and a stable platform as we enter into negotiations to leave the European Union. Whilst not supporting all proposals within the budget there are many areas which are deigned to make our economy more competitive and enable us to maximise opportunities outside the European Union.”