Clause 5 — Interpretation
Social Security Contributions (Share Options) Bill
Mr Stephen Timms (Financial Secretary, HM Treasury; East Ham, Labour)
I beg to move, That this House
agrees with the Lords in the said amendment.
This second change, which is probably less racy than the first, will bring the Bill within the ambit of part I of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, which is the main social security legislation. Without the amendment, we would be unable to use the existing administrative procedures in the main Act to introduce the regulations to be made under the Bill. That problem was spotted by the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee of the other place, and I am grateful to it for that. I am glad to have the opportunity to put my thanks on record, and I am confident that the House will support the amendment.
Mr Howard Flight (Arundel and South Downs, Conservative)
I also support the amendment. Furthermore, I make it clear to the Minister that we support it and the Bill because they solve a problem, but, as I tried to make clear earlier, imposing additional stealth taxes on unapproved share options is a mistake.
I say to Mr. Bercow that, when he talks to his small business people in the high street, he should point out that the issue is that unapproved options are no longer of any great use in giving people incentives and procuring good management from large companies that can afford to pay them more. People will not take lower pay and the chance of making unknown gains that depend on how the business performs if they have to pay 47.3 per cent. tax on those unknown gains. They will almost certainly stay in a safe job with the Government or a large company.
It is a great pity that a Government who put so much spin on wanting to support entrepreneurship and making this country achieve as well as the United States does should go down such a path. I am churlish not about the Bill, but about the cause of needing it in the first place.
Lords amendment agreed to.