The Government is announcing today that it will not proceed with the abolition of Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) during this parliament.
This change was originally intended to simplify the tax system for the self-employed. We delayed the implementation of this policy in November to consider concerns relating to the impact on self-employed individuals with low profits. We have since engaged with interested parties to explore the issue, and further options for addressing any unintended consequences.
A significant number of self-employed individuals on the lowest profits would have seen the voluntary payment they make to maintain access to the State Pension rise substantially. Having listened to those likely to be affected by this change we have concluded that it would not be right to proceed during this parliament, given the negative impacts it could have on some of the lowest earning in our society.
Furthermore, it has become clear that, to the extent that the Government could address these concerns, the options identified introduce greater complexity to the tax system, undermining the original objective of the policy.
The Government remains committed to simplifying the tax system for the self-employed, and will keep this issue under review in the context of the wider tax system and the sustainability of the public finances.
The Government still intends to legislate for reforms to the NICs treatment of termination payments and income from sporting testimonials, which were set out in the draft NICs Bill published on 5 December 2016. These are important changes to ensure the NICs treatment is consistent with the treatment of income tax in previous Finance Acts. We will set out further details in due course.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: