PR bodies welcome National Insurance u-turn but call for change to dividends and 'staggering' business rates

The CIPR and the PRCA have welcomed Chancellor Philip Hammond's decision to scrap plans that would have seen an increase in National Insurance levels for self-employed people, including many PR professionals.

The increase was announced last week as part of the Chancellor's Spring Budget. However, the rise faced immediate criticism, with some accusing the Tories of breaking a 2015 manifesto pledge.

In response, CIPR president Jason MacKenzie said the proposed rise would have unnecessarily punished millions of self-employed workers, many of whom work in public relations.

He said: "I'm pleased the government has reconsidered these proposals. Entrepreneurialism must be protected and encouraged."

PRCA director-general Francis Ingham said self-employed PR and communications practitioners would welcome the government's u-turn.

Several PRs also took to Twitter to welcome the move, despite some pointing out what a "shambles" it was:

During last week's Budget, the Chancellor also announced tax-free dividend allowances were to be reduced from £5,00, to £2,000. CIPR spokesman Koray Camgoz said the cut could mean investors would be less likely to invest in small businesses and independent PR practitioners. 

MacKenzie said the change to tax-free dividends unfairly disadvantage the self-employed.

Ingham added that the industry also wants to tackle "staggering" business rates increases, which, according to a report in the FT in February, could bankrupt small businesses and some high street shops.

Meanwhile, PR professionals have discussed the impact of the announcement for Hammond and the government from a comms perspective.

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