National Insurance Contributions Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 4th November 2013.

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Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary 4:18 pm, 4th November 2013

My hon. Friend raises an important point. I pay tribute to the work that she does on the all-party parliamentary group on micro-businesses. She provides a very strong voice in the House for smaller businesses, and she is absolutely right to do so. She is right to draw the House’s attention to the FSB survey. We have already talked about the contribution that the measure will make to the taking on of more staff, but where more staff are not taken on, there will very often be investment in the business, which will clearly help it to expand.

The Bill cuts the jobs tax for 1.25 million employers and takes 450,000 of them out of employers’ national insurance contributions altogether, making it less expensive for businesses to take on new staff, so the Bill will help job creation. It contains four main measures. We have touched on the employment allowance. I will also say something this afternoon about the fact that the Bill gives effect to the general anti-abuse rule on national insurance contributions. It also amends the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 to allow regulations to be made on the certification of non-UK employers of oil and gas workers, and makes changes in connection with two elements of the partnerships review carried out by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. The Bill also makes a small number of technical corrections that I am happy to take the House through, should there be demand for that; if there is not, I am sure that we can cover them in some depth in Committee.

Returning to the employment allowance, as part of our efforts to remove barriers to growth for businesses and to equip the UK economy to compete in the global race, the Chancellor announced in this year’s Budget the creation of a new employment allowance, as my hon. Friend Charlie Elphicke pointed out. It will take effect from 6 April next year. Businesses, charities and community amateur sports clubs in the UK will be entitled to a £2,000-a-year allowance towards their employer national insurance contribution liability.

The employment allowance builds on action that the Government have taken to make the tax system more competitive, and to encourage growth. That includes cutting corporation tax, increasing the rate of the research and development tax credit for small and medium-sized enterprises, increasing the annual investment allowance to £250,000, and giving a cash-flow benefit to those who invest in plant and machinery.

The objective of the employment allowance is to help businesses with the cost of employing their staff by reducing their employer class 1 national insurance contributions bill each year. It will support thousands of small businesses that aspire to grow, perhaps by hiring their first employee or expanding their work force, as well as those already employing others, or facing temporary cash-flow problems.