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Class 4 National Insurance Contributions - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:08 pm on 15th March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Young of Cookham Lord Young of Cookham Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 4:08 pm, 15th March 2017

My Lords, I say to the noble Lord, Lord Davies, that we are reluctant to take advice from the Labour Party on promoting harmony between No. 10 and next door. He will recall that Budget measures introduced by the Labour Government subsequently had to be revised. For the Liberal Democrats, the noble Baroness was cautious enough not to mention manifesto commitments—there are certain issues from her party that would be brought to mind.

We have made it absolutely clear that we will make good the fiscal impact of this decision in the Autumn Statement. We are not minded to borrow more, which has sometimes been suggested. However, in response to the serious issue raised by both the noble Lord and the noble Baroness, I can give a firm assurance that all the spending commitments made in the Budget will be honoured—on skills, on adult social care and on accident and emergency. We stand by those commitments.

The noble Lord asked about universal credit. There will be no change to the entitlement to universal credit by the self-employed. On the broader issues about the Taylor review, there is an issue here—and the Labour Party has recognised it as an issue; it has a commission looking at the issue. I do not think that it would be right to do what the noble Lord suggested, which is to ditch the Taylor review. It is important that we go ahead with it, but we have ruled out certain responses in how we take it forward. But there is an issue here—a threat to the tax base that we need to address.

The Autumn Budget will make good the deficit, in the normal way, so the hole will be filled, and the Chancellor remains committed to sound finance, reducing the deficit and investing in infrastructure and key public services. Those commitments remain as before.