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Budget 2017: 'Plumbing is now a struggle - and this decision makes things worse'

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Father-of-three Stephen Carr, a self-employed plumber and heating expert, said he wasn't surprised by yesterday's budget news that he will now face a 2% hike in National Insurance.

"I knew something like this would be coming," said Stephen (54). "It'll have a big impact on me and my family, but already things have got a lot worse than they used to be.

"The price of materials has gone up by about 5% and I'm earning around 20% less than I did 10 years ago.

"It used to be a job where you made decent money, but it's much more of a struggle now for people doing this sort of work because of such large outgoings, and this announcement is just going to make things worse."

Stephen, from Belfast, rejected Chancellor Philip Hammond's suggestion that the National Insurance gap between the employed and self-employed needed to be closed.

"The difference is self-employed people have huge payments to fork out that more than cover that difference," said Stephen, who has three daughters with wife Elizabeth.

"We have to pay for absolutely everything while employees don't. Our overheads are much bigger so ratcheting this payment up on top of everything else really isn't helpful."

claire o'boyle

Belfast Telegraph

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