Thank you for contacting me about the planned National Insurance contributions (NICs) increase due to come in in April.

Like many of my constituents, I am concerned about the impact of this change. It was clear when this planned tax rise was announced in September last year that it would be a heavy burden on working people and businesses who could ill afford it. It will hit nearly 30 million working people and cost households hundreds of pounds per year from when it comes in in April. It has been opposed by the TUC, the British Chambers of Commerce, the Confederation of British Industry and the Federation of Small Businesses. It will impact young and low-paid workers, while leaving those earning huge incomes from large portfolios of buy-to-let properties or from selling stocks and shares untouched.

Since the increase was announced, the situation has only further worsened – even before the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Petrol prices, energy bills and the cost of the weekly food shop are all still rising. Inflation is already at its highest level since 1992, and is forecast to rise further still next month. Growth is also expected to slow further. The Resolution Foundation has found that the average household will experience a £1,000 hit from tax rises and energy price increases this year.

I therefore agree that the Chancellor needs to abandon his planned NICs increase and I supported a motion calling for this in the House of Commons on 8 March. I hope the Government will listen to this call.

In addition, I believe the Government needs to come forward with measures to make a real difference to the cost of living. I support calls, for example, for it to introduce a one-off windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producers that we could use to cut household energy bills by up to £600. And ultimately, we need measures to grow our economy and break out of the high-tax, low growth trap we are stuck in.

Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue.

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