Effects of termination awards provisions

Part of National Insurance Contributions (Termination Awards and Sporting Testimonials) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:34 pm on 10th June 2019.

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Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Shadow Minister (Treasury) 7:34 pm, 10th June 2019

It is a pleasure to speak on behalf of the official Opposition on Third Reading. It is also a pleasure to speak opposite the Exchequer Secretary, who has been left holding the baby no less than three times this evening—understandable, perhaps, given the immense turbulence currently occurring on the Government Benches. I echo his thanks to the officials who have been involved with the Bill and to all those who made so many contributions, particularly in Committee.

As we have said repeatedly, this is a meagre Bill. We have many concerns about it that have not been addressed during its passage and were certainly not addressed this evening. First, on sporting testimonials, we still lack clarity on the scope of the Bill due to its terminological ambiguity. We still do not have any proper projection from the Government with regard to its impact on charitable giving.

On termination payments, we remain deeply concerned that the Bill still leaves the door open to reducing the value of national insurance-free termination payments. As a result of the Bill—the Minister even acknowledged this in his speech just now—we could see a reduction in the amount of NI-free payments going to those who are losing their jobs through secondary legislation. That is completely inappropriate and something we will not accept. The Government themselves have admitted that the measures will exert downward pressure on wages. There will also be a negative impact on termination payments, because they will be passed on from employers to employees.

There are huge problems with our tax system. They are not dealt with by this thin and meagre Bill. As a result, we will be voting against it on Third Reading.