I notice that certain members of the Committee have slightly changed their attire to fit the occasion, and perhaps the extra heat in the room has made that an unwise choice.
Amendment 9 probes the Minister on the design of clause 5 in respect of the exclusion of charities from the national insurance holiday, and the reason why the Minister has chosen to do that. The Minister said during the evidence session last Thursday that the Bill
“would not include charities that do not have a business element…It is not specifically designed to help charities, but to help the wealth-creation sector”.––[Official Report, National Insurance Contributions Public Bill Committee, 2 December 2010; c. 47, Q167.]
I am slightly surprised that the Minister has taken that line, because charities are important players in our economy. Although they may not be out to make a profit, they are often enterprising institutions—and employing institutions, hiring various staff in many different cases—and they deserve our support and encouragement.