Clause 9

Part of National Insurance Contributions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 9th December 2010.

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Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary 9:30 am, 9th December 2010

Far be it from me to accuse the hon. Gentleman of being a dinosaur in either his love of paper records or his politics. I share his concerns about ensuring that the right type of record-keeping requirement is placed on small businesses. When the Finance Act 2008 was being passed, I suspect that I made similar points as a lead for the Opposition during the lengthy debates that we had on the subject. We must get those powers right, and the requirements placed on small businesses must be proportionate and reasonable.

It may help the Committee if I point out that the guidance on HMRC’s website—apologies to the hon. Member for Luton North, but it is on the website—clearly sets out the record-keeping requirements on businesses and employers in such circumstances. The hon. Gentleman is correct that we must be careful not to place undue demands on businesses, but HMRC needs to have accurate records in order to be able to monitor and ensure accurate compliance with our requirements.