(Except Clauses 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 16, 20 and 92) - Schedule 35

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:00 pm on 18th June 2009.

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Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne Shadow Minister (Treasury) 1:00 pm, 18th June 2009

I shall be extremely brief because I generally try in Committee not to replicate speeches that have already been made, just to put myself on the record for having agreed with earlier speakers.

I will depart slightly from that sensible rule of thumb on this occasion to say that I am an enthusiast for the constructive approach taken by the hon. Member for Fareham. He recognises the legitimacy of what the Government are trying to do—we all recognise that that is a sensible approach. If one is going down the path of introducing new measures, some provisional arrangements are needed in the interim.

The hon. Gentleman also makes an entirely sensible point—one that has been made to me through representations to which I have been sympathetic and which is reflected in the large group of amendments—that there are people whose pension contributions are inevitably haphazard, because that is the nature of their income. That is most obvious for people who are self-employed, or those whose work is seasonal or has other fluctuations beyond their control. There is a danger—more than that: a likelihood—that the measures the Government have introduced, entirely understandably, will catch people they are not intended to catch.

I hope the Minister will engage seriously with the points made by the hon. Gentleman, myself and others. If the Treasury is able to find a way of drafting the legislation so that penalties are not incurred by those they do not intend to target, that would be appreciated by a large number of people.