Dumfries and Galloway will be disproportionatelyhit by a UK Government tax hike for the self employed, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

The local MSP has highlighted the fact that the region – which relies on small businesses – has a higher than average number of self employed workers.

Despite a Tory party manifesto pledge not to raise National Insurance – Tory Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced in his budget yesterday (8 March) that self employed workers would be hit by a 1% rise in National Insurance contributions .

Commenting on the move Colin Smyth said, “This hike in national insurance will really hammer the economy of Dumfries and Galloway. Our region relies on small businesses with the number of self employed people almost 50% higher than the national average. This tax grab is particularly embarrassing for Scotland’s sole Tory MP David Mundell given that the Federation of Small Business have released a list of the 50 towns in Scotland that will be hit hardest and one of those town’s is  Moffat, where Mr Mundell lives.

What will anger local people is the fact that the Tories made a very clear commitment at the 2015 General Election not to increase National Insurance, but they have now broken that promise.  It proves once and for all that ordinary working people just cannot trust the Tories. The Tories are increasing taxes on those who set up their own businesses and help build the economy of Dumfries and Galloway while cutting taxes for big business”.


The latest available data in the Annual Population Survey is for the period Oct 2015-Sep 2016. The figures below are of the number of people who self-reported as self-employed.

Table 1: Number and Proportion in employment who is self-employed (16+) – Oct 2015-Sep 2016



Proportion of total employment

Dumfries and Galloway






Annual Population Survey via nomis

The Federation of Small Business has released a list of small towns in rural Scotland hardest hit by the tax rise. These are Scottish towns, villages and suburbs with the highest proportion of the local population who work for themselves and include Moffat at number 19 and Kirkcudbright at number 28.

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