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DWP looks at NIC rise for the self-employed

The Department for Work and Pensions is understood to be considering a rise in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed.

The proposals are expected to follow the publication of a report by the influential Pensions Provision Group, the independent body which generates discussion papers and policy proposals for UK pension reform.

The report will set out a range of potential changes dealing with the problem of ensuring the self-employed are adequately provided for in retirement, the effect of which would demand raising NIC.

It is understood that pensions minister Ian McCartney is particularly keen to see changes in NIC levels debated.

A senior industry source says: “The issue is about to become very high profile. The DWP is very keen to see this report published and the debate started.”

Norwich Union head of corporate pensions Iain Oliver says: “If this is happening, it is effectively a way of bringing in compulsion for the self-employed.

“For individuals most effected by such a move, it would remain to be seen whether saving through a pension would be their number one priority.”

A DWP spokesperson was unable to comment on the PPG report but confirmed it is due to be published before Christmas.

Wentworth Rose managing director Philip Rose says: “If this was implemented, the question would be whether the self-emp-loyed really would see any extra benefits. Many think NI is just a tax by a different name.”

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