Clause 5

Part of National Insurance Contributions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 7th December 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary 5:30 pm, 7th December 2010

I shall briefly respond to the debate for a second time. We have had a number of interesting contributions. The hon. Member for Luton South said that initially he was not attracted by the amendment and that he was more persuaded as he heard the arguments. I fear that he may have provoked some competition on the Opposition Front Bench. The hon. Member for Nottingham East felt that he was one up on the right hon. Member for Delyn as a consequence of that. I may be being unfair: I suspect that he was more persuaded by the hon. Member for Walthamstow, regardless of the Latin content, and that it had nothing to do with either of them.

We all want to help charities in our constituencies, and I understand why hon. Members would argue that charities are employers, but so are local authorities, so is the public sector and so are individuals when they employee a nanny, a chauffeur or a butler.I suspect that not many of us here do that. [Interruption.] I can only think of one right hon. Member who employs a butler, and he is not on our side any more. We have to think about the purpose of the scheme and what we are trying to achieve: strengthening the private sector in those regions where it is not as strong as we need it to be if we are to have private sector-led growth in the years ahead.

We all want to help charities. There are other things that we are doing for charities, some of which are long standing, such as gift aid, but we are looking at ways in which we can improve that. There is a transitional fund to help charities and so on that we have announced. The Government remain committed to finding ways to help charities. The question is not, “Do we want to help charities?” but, “Is this the right mechanism for doing  so?” We believe that we need to create new start-up private sector employers, particularly in those regions where that is not happening and has not happened over the last few years as much as we would like. That is why we are bringing in this scheme. The purpose is not to discriminate against charities: there are other policies specifically for charities, but this scheme is not about that.