Prime Minister Theresa May has postponed a vote on the national insurance rise until autumn following public and political uproar.
The plans, which the PM described as “fair”, would see national insurance payments increase by 2% for large numbers of self-employed workers in Sunderland and across the UK.
Alan Zimmer, of Zimmer Electrical Services, said: “It’s good they pushed it back and listened. I just hope they don’t wait for it to go quiet and then bring it in again.
“It’s a treble whammy. If you employ people the living wage goes up again in April. I have to contribute to pensions, and now they say national insurance is going up.”
The government has come under fire from the Labour party since Phillip Hammond unveiled the Spring Budget on Wednesday.
Mrs. May insists she is “fully committed” to national insurance reform.
David Henderson, from Henderson’s butcher shop, said: “I think that they’re persecuting the self-employed who are quite often small businesses finding it increasingly hard and struggle.
“And I feel with the government it’s one squeeze after another. I think there’s a bias towards [big businesses] – and not an intentional one.”
Jose Tahano, proprietor of Da Vinci Pizza, was also critical of the government’s plans: “It’s very, very disgraceful to be honest with you. The price of everything goes up. I’m not happy.”
The bill for the changes, which would have been scheduled for summer, is expected to be voted on in autumn later this year.