National Insurance Contributions (Reduction in Rates) (No.2) Bill

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

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This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the National Insurance Contributions (Reduction in Rates) Act 2024 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Gareth Davies Portrait The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Gareth Davies)
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I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

For the second time this year, we are cutting taxes for 29 million working people across the country—something that is particularly remarkable in the aftermath of the worst pandemic in 100 years, the worst war in mainland Europe since 1945, and the highest energy spike since the 1970s. The Government have had to take difficult decisions to restore the public finances, and those decisions are starting to pay off. Our economy is growing, and debt is forecast to reduce. Inflation is down significantly, unemployment is at near-record lows, and wages are rising. As the outlook improves, our priority is to return money to working taxpayers while keeping the public finances on track.

We believe that the tax system should be fair and simple, and should reward hard work, yet the way we tax people’s income is particularly unfair. People who get their income from having a job pay two types of tax: national insurance contributions and income tax. People who get it from other sources pay only one. The result is a complicated system that does not support work as best it could. For that reason, the Bill will build on the changes to national insurance contributions in the autumn statement.

The Bill contains two measures: a reduction in the NICs employee class 1 main rate, and a reduction in the NICs class 4 main rate. Both measures are important. Allowing working families to keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible is a priority for the Government. The Chancellor has always been clear that when we can cut taxes, we will.

Louie French Portrait Mr Louie French (Old Bexley and Sidcup) (Con)
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My hon. Friend is making a great speech, and I fully support the Government’s efforts to reduce the taxes of working people, alongside the pledge to increase the money going to pensioners through the triple lock. Does he agree that it is disgraceful that, while the Conservatives are working hard to cut taxes and help working people, Labour is increasing the share of council tax for all Londoners, and hitting drivers with charges of up to £12.50 per day thanks to the ultra low emission zone?

Gareth Davies Portrait Gareth Davies
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My hon. Friend is consistent in holding the administration in London to account. He is right: as we are still not out of the woods when it comes to the cost of living crisis, the Conservative party has made it clear that we disagree with the Mayor of London’s approach of making motorists poorer.

As I said, building on the changes in the autumn statement, we will once again be supporting working families by reducing the main rate of employee class 1 NICs by two percentage points to 8% on earnings between £12,570 and £50,270 from 6 April 2024. That will cut taxes for over 27 million employees. The average worker on £35,400 a year will save £450 a year, and the majority will see the benefit in their payslips at the start of the new tax year. Taken together with the cuts to NICs in the autumn statement, this tax cut is worth some £900 a year to the average worker.

In addition, we are implementing a further reduction in the main rate of class 4 NICs for the self-employed. The Chancellor announced in the autumn statement that the main rate of class 4 will be reduced from 9% to 8% from 6 April. Today, we are cutting the rate by an additional two percentage points from 8% to 6% from April 2024. That is a total cut of three percentage points in just six months. Combined with the abolition of the requirement to pay class 2, which was announced in the autumn statement, that will save an average self-employed person £650 a year, and benefit over 2 million people across the country.

Together with the autumn statement cuts, this is an overall tax cut worth some £20 billion per year—the largest-ever cut to employee and self-employed national insurance. Because of the action that we have taken, the average earner in the UK now has the lowest effective personal tax rate since 1975. The Government are committed to tax cuts that reward and incentivise work and that grow our economy sustainably and boost productivity. The Office for Budget Responsibility has said that the national insurance cuts announced in the spring Budget will increase the total hours worked by the equivalent of almost 100,000 full-time workers by 2028-29. Because of the cuts, just over 30,000 people will move into work. These reductions in tax will drive more people to seek employment. This is our plan for a simpler, fairer tax system that makes work pay.

Alexander Stafford Portrait Alexander Stafford (Rother Valley) (Con)
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My hon. Friend is making a powerful Conservative speech about the importance of not just cutting tax but getting more people into work. Has the Department estimated how much more tax revenue will come in as a result of more people working because of these changes, so that we can show that lower taxes actually increase tax revenues for the Exchequer?

Gareth Davies Portrait Gareth Davies
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My hon. Friend is right to point that out. A fundamental benefit of reducing tax is that it improves growth in our economy, because more people will be in work and working longer hours. That obviously generates more productivity for our economy, and ultimately more tax revenues for the Exchequer. It is a fundamental Conservative principle that we want lower taxes, and we are delivering that today because it is fiscally responsible to do so, and we are able to do so.

Anna Firth Portrait Anna Firth (Southend West) (Con)
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making such a powerful case for cutting taxes, a fundamental Conservative principle. The Bill will put £960 back into the pocket of the average worker in Southend, who earns £36,400, and will put £1,920 back into the pockets of a family in Southend with two people on the average wage. Does he agree that that is a considerable and welcome tax cut for hard-working people in Southend?

Gareth Davies Portrait Gareth Davies
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My hon. Friend is right to point that out. I would add to those figures: since 2010, we have lifted millions of people across the country, including in Southend West, out of paying any tax at all by doubling the point at which people start paying tax in our country. People can now earn £1,000 a month without paying any tax, and that is a great achievement of a Conservative Government.

Although I welcome the fact that Labour Members will apparently vote for our tax cuts today, I hope that they will forgive me for sounding slightly sceptical about their sudden conversion to the cause of lower taxes for working people. While they do not oppose the measures, they also did not propose them. In fact, Labour has consistently voted against successive Conservative-led tax cuts between 2010 and 2021, which delivered a doubling of the personal allowance, as I mentioned to my hon. Friend the Member for Southend West (Anna Firth). On the one hand, they bemoan the level of taxation, but cannot tell us a single tax that they propose to cut, or what the level of taxation would be under Labour. On the other hand, the shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the hon. Member for Bristol North West (Darren Jones), described our ambitions to remove unfairness in the tax system as “morally abhorrent”. Labour Members still cannot tell us how they will pay for their many spending commitments. They are completely all over the place. It is only the Conservatives who truly believe in reducing taxes on working people.

Richard Fuller Portrait Richard Fuller (North East Bedfordshire) (Con)
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The Minister is giving a clear explanation of why the Conservatives want to cut tax, and the economic benefits of cutting taxes for working people. He will know that the origins of national insurance were basically a form of social insurance: having paid national insurance, it would look after us later in life. The Labour party took the insurance out and put the socialism in, which is why we have ended up with a system that is essentially the same as income tax. As we think beyond today’s welcome cuts to what is in the Opposition new clause, has the Minister thought about using any further cuts to go into the compulsory savings of individuals introduced under the coalition Government after 2010—essentially building, in place of a dependency state, a savings state built on Conservative principles?

Gareth Davies Portrait Gareth Davies
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Yet again my hon. Friend makes a valuable contribution. I commit to taking his idea away to consider, as we look at reducing the unfairness in the tax system in future and reducing national insurance contributions when it is prudent and responsible to do so.

The Labour party is completely all over the place on this. As a Conservative Government, we have delivered a clear message to the British people, and it is based on the delivery of the lowest personal taxation level since 1975. We have almost doubled the personal allowance, bringing the lowest earners out of paying any tax at all, and we have delivered a thriving jobs market, which is ultimately the best way to ensure that people are brought out of poverty.

Clive Lewis Portrait Clive Lewis (Norwich South) (Lab)
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I hope to speak a bit later on this. I may have a slight difference of opinion with the Minister on tax cutting, but I want to deal with the facts as I see them. He is making a great amount of noise about the tax-cutting vim and vigour that his party has had over the past 10, 20 or 30 years, or even longer than that—it is meant to be something that goes to the heart of the Conservative party—but according to the OECD, for every £1 generated in the UK, the Government collect 35.3p of it as tax. That figure is projected to keep on increasing to 37.7p by 2029, despite this 2% tax cut. Can the Minister explain how, if the Conservatives are the party of tax cuts, actual tax levels will in fact be going up, according to the OECD? How do the Government square that circle?

Gareth Davies Portrait Gareth Davies
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I am grateful for the opportunity to clarify that, because there has been a lot of noise from the Labour Benches, too. It is true that we have had to make some difficult decisions about overall taxation on the back of the pandemic, but today we are cutting taxes on work, because that is the way to grow our economy. As I said, we now have the lowest personal taxation level since 1975. Some taxes have gone up, absolutely—supported by the Labour party—as we have increased tobacco duty and other items, for example, but we are focused on ensuring that if people are in work and have a job, their tax level will be reduced. Today, that work of reducing tax on work continues. We are cutting taxes for millions of people across this country. That is why I commend the Bill to the House.

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Nigel Huddleston Portrait The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Nigel Huddleston)
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I thank all right hon. and hon. Members for their contributions. I think it would be fair to say that a range of perspectives have been presented, but most of us—certainly on the Government Benches—agree that this is an important piece of legislation. It will deliver tax cuts that make the tax system fairer, while rewarding and incentivising work, and growing the economy in a sustainable way. The national insurance cuts are an important part of that, and they are policy.

I want to respond to the confusion of the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn (Tulip Siddiq), which is understandable given that we have heard promises, policies, aspirations and ambitions from the Labour party in relation to the £28 billion. Let me be clear: it is my party’s ambition to eliminate national insurance. I know that Labour Members do not understand what the word “ambition” means and that it is difficult, but it is an ambition. That is the difference.

I will briefly reiterate the Bill’s main measures and what they seek to achieve. First, the Bill builds on the cuts to national insurance announced in the autumn statement by reducing the main rate of class 1 employee NICs from 10% to 8%. That change will come into effect from 6 April 2024, with employees benefiting from April onwards as employers make the changes to their payroll systems. Secondly, the Bill reduces the self-employed class 4 main rate of NICs from 8% to 6% from 6 April. That follows on from the one percentage point reduction to the main rate of class 4 NICs from 9% to 8% announced in the autumn statement 2023.

Now that inflation is falling and the economy is improving, as we saw in this morning’s figures, which I am sure the Opposition welcome, we can responsibly return some money to taxpayers, but it is important to do so in a way that supports work and grows a sustainable economy for the future. A UK employee can already earn more money before paying income tax and social security contributions than an employee in any other G7 country, and thanks to the NICs cuts in the autumn statement and the spring Budget and above-inflation increases to thresholds since 2010, an average worker on £35,400 in 2024-25 will pay over £1,500 less in personal taxes than they would have done if the thresholds had just increased in line with inflation. As my hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) pointed out very well, in contrast to the comments of the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn, we have reduced the amount of tax paid by increasing the threshold from £6,500 to more than £12,500 over the period in which we have been in office. Labour opposed many of those threshold increases.

My hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay also made the important point that the measures we have taken in recent fiscal events have been focused on helping 29 million workers. Some 27 million employees will benefit from an average £900 saving in national insurance, but of course, we also care deeply about pensioners. Those on the full basic pension will receive an extra £700 in April and those on the full new state pension will receive an extra £900, so 12 million pensioners will also benefit from the significant increases that we will provide through the triple lock. Of course, it is perfectly fair that workers also get some advantage—they will be receiving the benefits I have outlined. The Government are cutting taxes in a responsible way, and have taken difficult but responsible decisions to restore the public finances in the wake of global crises.

Drew Hendry Portrait Drew Hendry
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The Minister has used the word “responsible” a number of times. As has been pointed out by many organisations, not least the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the OBR, there will be substantial cuts to public services. With many English councils already in special measures—effective bankruptcy—where does the Minister see those cuts falling? How will they filter through to the public, and what will be the effect on public sector jobs?

Nigel Huddleston Portrait Nigel Huddleston
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As the hon. Member will be aware and as the Chancellor outlined, based on current spending assumptions, total departmental spending will still be £86 billion higher in real terms by 2028-29 than at the start of this Parliament. If he was listening to the debates earlier this week, he will be aware that we will increase spending in real terms by 1% during the forecast period.

The hon. Member and others have raised points about fairness and making sure that we look after the most vulnerable in society, which is of course something we are committed to. Distributional analysis published alongside the spring Budget shows that the typical household at any income decile will see a net benefit in 2024-25 as a result of Government decisions made in the autumn statement—and, indeed, from the autumn statement 2022 onwards—and that low-income households will see the largest benefit as a percentage of income.

We have mentioned many times our commitment to the national living wage. It will soon increase by 9.8% to £11.44, which is expected to benefit around 2.7 million workers. It is important to stress that from April, a full-time national living wage worker’s take-home pay will be 35% greater in real terms than it was in 2010, due to successive increases in the national living wage and changes to personal tax rates and thresholds.

To respond to a few other comments made by right hon. and hon. Members, my right hon. Friends the Members for Witham (Priti Patel) and for Wokingham (John Redwood) both gave excellent speeches, in which they not only championed workers—including the self-employed—but highlighted the fact that we have to operate in a particular context. As has been mentioned many times today, we are in a difficult financial situation because of a global pandemic that hit the global economy, which was followed by the invasion of Ukraine and the significant impact it had on inflation around the world.

The question, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham pointed out, is how much higher taxes would be if Labour had been in charge. Throughout the pandemic, the Government received a lot of support from Members on both sides of the Chamber. That was completely right, but many Members were calling for even greater intervention and even longer lockdowns, which would potentially have done immense damage to the economy.

Some hon. Members raised the contributory principle. In our ambition for further reductions in national insurance, we will make sure that the future tax system has the right mechanism for establishing entitlement to contributory benefits, including the state pension. My right hon. Friend also mentioned the rise in the VAT threshold, which is really important. It will go from £85,000 to £90,000, which means that 28,000 fewer small businesses will be registered for VAT. My hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner (David Simmonds) highlighted this Government’s record on jobs in creating 800 jobs a day and in significantly reducing youth unemployment, of which we can all be proud.

My hon. Friend the Member for Aberconwy (Robin Millar), who raised many important points in his speech, pointed out the rather irresponsible scaremongering we have heard today from those on the Labour Front Bench relating to spending on pensions and the NHS. The Opposition should be well aware, especially if they wish to form a Government, that the money raised by NICs does not determine the amount going to the NHS and state pensions. We have announced increasing funding to the NHS and we are uprating state pensions by 8.5% this year, as I have mentioned. We on these Benches can tolerate a decent debate—we are fairly robust— but we will not tolerate irresponsible scaremongering, especially when targeted at the most vulnerable in society, purely to try to take political advantage from making up policies that do not exist. I hope that at some point the Opposition will either get some economic competence or apologise for that.

This really important Bill delivers tax cuts for over 29 million working people. A yearly saving of over £450 for the average worker will result from this Bill alone. Taken together with the cuts to NICs at the autumn statement, it will be worth over £900 per year for the average worker. This will benefit households throughout the United Kingdom and in every single constituency represented in this place. However, here we are again, and in nearly three hours of debate, we have heard nothing but doom and gloom from the Opposition. How disappointed they must have been this morning to hear that the economy has grown. While I am not pretending for one minute that everything is perfect—as I have said, our constituents and the country have been through a very challenging time—it is important to recognise, welcome and applaud success, especially if a party wants to lead a country, champion trade abroad and attract investment. What a terrible advert for the UK we have heard from the Opposition today, who are completely lacking in confidence and ambition for our economy and our workers.

The national insurance cuts we are debating reward work and will provide a further boost to the economy. We are turning a corner, and the plan is working. While we want to put more money back into people’s pockets, the Opposition want to take more out, and while we take every opportunity to talk the country up, they take every opportunity to talk Britain down. The choice is very clear: a plan for growth and a brighter future with the Conservatives, or no hope, no clue and no plan with the Opposition. I commend the Bill to the House.

Nigel Evans Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans)
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Should there be a vote on the amendment, 10 minutes will be allowed, and if there is then a vote on Second Reading, eight minutes will be allowed.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

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16:33

Division 90

Ayes: 44

Noes: 300

Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 62(2)), That the Bill be now read a Second time.
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16:47

Division 91

Ayes: 304

Noes: 43

Bill read a Second time; to stand committed to a Committee of the whole House (Order, this day).

National Insurance Contributions (Reduction in Rates) (No. 2) Bill

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

Read Full debate
Committee of the whole House
Wednesday 13th March 2024

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
National Insurance Contributions (Reduction in Rates) Act 2024 Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Amendment Paper: Committee of the whole House Amendments as at 13 March 2024 - (13 Mar 2024)

This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the National Insurance Contributions (Reduction in Rates) Act 2024 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Nigel Huddleston Portrait Nigel Huddleston
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I outlined the purpose of the Bill in my earlier speech. It is a short and clear Bill with a very clear purpose. It is our desire to move quickly in order for the changes to take effect from 6 April 2024. I sense Members’ desire to move quickly in cutting people’s taxes, and I will detain the Committee no longer.

James Murray Portrait James Murray
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I fear that my speech may be marginally longer than the Minister’s, but I can assure you, Mr Chair, that it will not be too lengthy, because, as I made clear on Second Reading, we will support the national insurance reductions that the clauses in the Bill seek to deliver.

Clause 1 seeks to reduce national insurance contributions by reducing the main rates of employee class 1 and self-employed class 4 contributions, as well as the reduced rate that applies to a historic group of married women and widows. Clause 2 seeks to amend the calculation of annual maximum contributions and is effectively consequential on clause 1. Clause 3 sets out that the Bill will come into force on 6 April.

I would like the Minister to answer a couple of questions when he responds. Will he set out what conversations he has had with employers and payroll software developers about whether they will be ready to implement the provisions in this Bill from the start of the next financial year? I think I heard the Exchequer Secretary, the hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford (Gareth Davies), say on Second Reading that he was confident that a majority of employees would receive this tax cut at the beginning of the financial year, but is the Minister confident that every relevant employee will indeed receive the cut to national insurance in their first pay cheque of financial year 2024-25?

More widely, we support what this simple Bill seeks to achieve, so we will support all three clauses being approved by this Committee of the whole House.

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Kirsty Blackman Portrait Kirsty Blackman
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Thank you very much, Mr Chair—hopefully that is an acceptable form of address to use. I want to speak about the Bill in general and some of our concerns about it. The reality is that this is the wrong measure at the wrong time, as I said on Second Reading.

Earlier, the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn (Tulip Siddiq) spoke about her concerns about the SNP’s policies on oil and gas. She says that we are not putting workers first. Unfortunately, the Labour party’s plans for green investment in energy mean that 100,000 jobs will be lost in Scotland, which is very clearly not putting workers first—unless it is only workers in England who count—given that the money will go on nuclear power.

On the details of this Bill, the reality is that public services are creaking and really struggling. I have spoken to the Electoral Commission, which is concerned about whether it will even be able to deliver elections properly, given that mandatory voter ID has been introduced. The commission was able to co-opt people from other areas in order to ensure that all the recent by-elections were run properly. Will the Minister make it absolutely clear that if there is a general election this year—which there almost has to be; there certainly has to be one in the coming financial year—local authorities will have enough money and people to be able to deliver and service those elections? Will they have enough resources to be able to do that?

The 2022 autumn statement allocated more money to the NHS for 2024-25 than this Budget allocates, so it is a bit of a cheek for any Conservative Member to stand up and say that the Government are putting more money into the NHS. They are putting less money into the NHS than they proposed in autumn 2022. The consequentials that arise from the increase this year are actually less than the in-year consequentials that the Scottish Government had for the NHS in this current year, so it is a very minor increase, because it only works out to in-year terms—[Interruption.] Does the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the right hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Laura Trott) want to intervene? It is ridiculous for the Government to say, “This extra money is going into the NHS” when it is demonstrably less than they intended to spend on the NHS back in autumn 2022.

The Bill is going to make changes to the national insurance rates, and those changes will disproportionately impact higher earners. The Minister was slightly disingenuous when he said that the changes represent a higher percentage for people on lower incomes. Yes, but that is significantly less money. A band 2 worker in the NHS will be getting a £341 reduction in their national insurance rate. An MP in this House will get four times that. How is it fair that somebody in this House who is, in the main, not struggling to make ends meet will get £1,300 when someone working in the NHS will get only £300?

NHS workers have seen exactly the same increase in their energy bills as we have. They have seen exactly the same increase in council tax—actually, no, they have seen a much higher increase in their council tax bills if they live in England compared with those who live in Scotland. They have seen the same 25% hike in food prices. Given that those on lower incomes spend more money on food proportionately than those on higher incomes, that 25% inflation in food prices disproportionately hits families who are earning less. Therefore, we need to give even more to those families, rather than saying, “Well, it’s a higher percentage of your income so you’re okay. You’ll be fine with £340, but those people who are earning 85 grand a year standing in the House of Commons deserve £1,300.”

The hon. Member for Norwich South (Clive Lewis) made a very good speech on this change, and as he said, it is the essence of trickle-down economics in action. The Government are hoping that if rich people get richer and inequality increases, those people at the bottom of the pile will somehow magically get richer as well. There are much better ways to do this. One of the worst things about this whole situation—apart from the fact that Labour Members are unwilling to oppose it—is the decimation of public services that will result from it. The fact is that we have had 14 years of austerity and that is set to continue. People are going to lose out on vital services. The NHS is absolutely vital. Every one of us has had some sort of interaction with the NHS, yet the Government are setting themselves up for decades of pay battles with staff members because they will be unable to give the pay uplift that people deserve. They are setting us up for the decimation of those services.

I mentioned in my Budget speech last week that £1 billion-worth of cuts have been made by local councils to arts funding. That means children cannot access arts education, cannot go to a local theatre with reduced-price tickets from their local council, and cannot access all these extra things. People are struggling to access the most basic services because local authorities are creaking at the seams, yet the UK Government’s priorities are to allow a 4.99% increase in council tax and to ensure that higher earners get £1,300 whereas those on the minimum wage of £11.44 an hour who work 20 hours a week see absolutely no benefit.

Nigel Huddleston Portrait Nigel Huddleston
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I probably will not respond to everything we have heard today, as we thoroughly addressed many of the issues in the Budget debate.

In response to the new comments, I assure the hon. Member for Aberdeen North (Kirsty Blackman) that we always ensure that the democratic process is adequately funded. She is dismissive of the £2.45 billion increase in NHS spending that was outlined in the Budget, but it is a significant amount and, as she is aware, it is a real-terms increase. I agree with the hon. Lady on the importance of arts, culture and the other areas she mentioned, which is precisely why the Budget had measures to extend tax reliefs.

My opposite number, the hon. Member for Ealing North (James Murray), asked about the logistics of implementing and executing the tax change. We understand the impact of policy changes, and I put on record how grateful we are for all those who have implemented and executed the recent changes so speedily and effectively. Employees whose employer is unable to make changes in time, and who have left their employment, may request a refund from HMRC. The Government are confident that the majority of software developers will be able to make changes to their payroll software in time for 6 April.

On the new clauses, we have outlined the policy today. The impact of any changes to policy would, of course, be subject to the usual public scrutiny of costs, including from the OBR. It is therefore not necessary to produce a report at this stage. The OBR’s “Economic and fiscal outlook” publication for the spring 2024 Budget includes an analysis of the impacts of threshold freezes, including on the number of people brought into paying tax. It is therefore not necessary to produce an additional report at this stage, so we do not believe new clause 1 is necessary.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 2 and 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

New Clause 1

Review of the effects of reducing employee and self-employed NIC contributions to zero

“(1) The Treasury must publish before the end of the parliamentary session in which this Act is passed an analysis of the effect of —

(a) replacing “8%” with “0%” in section 1(1) of this Act,

(b) replacing “1.85%” with “0%” in section 1(2) of this Act, and

(c) replacing “6%” with “0%” in section 1(3) of this Act.

(2) The analysis in subsection (1) must set out the expected impact of the changes in subsection (1)(a) to (c) on total receipts to the National Insurance Fund in each of the financial years from 2024/25 to 2028/29.

(3) The Treasury must request the Government Actuary to make an assessment of the consequences for the Consolidated Fund in each of the financial years from 2024/25 to 2028/29 of shortfalls in the National Insurance Fund that would result from a zero rate for employee and self-employed national insurance contributions.”—(James Murray.)

This new clause would require the Government, before the end of the current parliamentary session, to set out what the impact would be on total receipts from national insurance and overall public finances of reducing national insurance contributions for employees and self-employed people to zero.

Brought up, and read the First time.

James Murray Portrait James Murray
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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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Nigel Evans Portrait The Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr Nigel Evans)
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Thank you very much. Can someone from the Liberal Democrats inform the Chair who their tellers will be, as their amendment has been selected for a separate Division?

Nigel Huddleston Portrait Nigel Huddleston
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As I mentioned earlier, the impact of policy and any changes to policy will be subject to the usual public scrutiny, including from the OBR on costs. It is therefore not necessary to produce additional reports. I will not play into the hands of the Opposition today by commenting further on their scaremongering. I refer the shadow Minister to the answer that I gave earlier, which I thought was quite clear. I am sorry that he is incapable of understanding the difference between an ambition and a policy, but the rest of the House seems to understand it. Hopefully, he will catch up at some point.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.

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17:27

Division 92

Ayes: 170

Noes: 292

New Clause 2
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17:43

Division 93

Ayes: 169

Noes: 293

The Deputy Speaker resumed the Chair.
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Nigel Huddleston Portrait Nigel Huddleston
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I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I am grateful to all right hon. and hon. Members who have participated throughout the Bill’s passage today, and to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and the other Deputy Speakers for skilfully guiding us through the process. I also thank all the Clerks, all stakeholders and all the officials for their work on bringing the Bill to the Floor and delivering tax cuts to the people of the United Kingdom. I commend the Bill to the House.

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18:01

Division 94

Ayes: 293

Noes: 41

Bill read the Third time and passed.

National Insurance Contributions (Reduction in Rates) (No. 2) Bill

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

Read Full debate

This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the National Insurance Contributions (Reduction in Rates) Act 2024 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Moved by
Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait Baroness Vere of Norbiton
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Bill read a second time and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.