Clause 5

Part of National Insurance Contributions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 7th December 2010.

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Photo of Chris Leslie Chris Leslie Shadow Minister (Treasury) 4:45 pm, 7th December 2010

It was an interesting intervention. I had not actually thought about new Members, and whether they would be classed as new start-up businesses in some circumstances. I suspect that our constituents  would not regard it as necessary for newly elected Members to qualify for a national insurance holiday. That is not least because, unless there is a by-election, even recently elected Members would have taken up their vocations before the provisions of the clause came into force—even though we did not have the Second Reading until late in the day.

However, I disagree with the hon. Gentleman’s point that charities do not, by and large, take on some of those characteristics. As with new start-up companies, a new start-up charity may have a number of part-time or full-time employees, and the national insurance holiday may make a big difference. I am not so sure about other tax benefits that charities have. As I understand it, charity shops, for instance, may get tax benefits relating to exemption from non-domestic rates. There are, of course, VAT provisions—sometimes charities have the capability to reclaim elements of VAT—but I think that they have to cover some of the costs on certain purchases. I accept, however, that tax benefits are available to the charitable sector.