Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is extremely concerned about the impact on business of changes to National Insurance and the new Health and Social Care Levy.

To tackle NHS backlogs and to overhaul the social care system, the changes will see a 1.25 per cent rise in National Insurance paid by both employers and employees, including pensioners still in work, from April 2022, converting to a Health & Social Care Levy from 2023.

The tax share on dividends will also increase by 1.25 per cent and from 2023 it will become a separate tax based on income earned.

An ageing population with increasing demand, fewer people receiving the care they need and cuts to local authority spending on social care are the current problems the sector is facing.

Once again businesses are being put in a difficult position, with this increase in costs at an already fraught time for businesses.

Managing director of the chamber, Suzanne Caldwell, said: “The focus should be on creating the best possible environment for businesses to grow and thrive so they can sustainably deliver the tax revenue needed to support our public services and the wider economy.

“This includes enabling investment in growth, upskilling and productivity gains as we move forward.

“So rather than adding to the financial pressures already facing businesses, the government should be acting to support businesses and stimulate investment and growth.”