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The government picked the wrong U-turn

An increase in self-employed National Insurance contributions is much needed. But the government has shelved its plans for one—and is pressing ahead with benefit cuts that leave low income households facing a hit

By Torsten Bell  

Chancellor Philip Hammond ©Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

U-turns are a staple of politics, in all but the most honeymoon phases of governments. But Chancellor Philip Hammond’s U-turn on his Budget plan to raise National Insurance for the self-employed is a very unusual one, combining as it does a very firm defence of the need for the policy with the decision to scrap it.

That we have ended up in that place reflects the undeniable fact that the politics of the increase in self-employed National Insurance contributions (NICs) has been…

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