Report on Exchequer impact

National Insurance Contributions (Termination Awards and Sporting Testimonials) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 14th May 2019.

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‘(1) The Secretary of State must, within three years of this Act receiving Royal Assent, lay before Parliament a report on its Exchequer impact.

(2) That report must contain an assessment of the additional payments made to the Exchequer by third sector organisations in each industrial category.”—

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman SNP Deputy Leader, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a second time.

I put my hand up and say that I made an error in the drafting of the second part of this clause that probably confused everybody. Subsection (2) should not be there; only subsection (1) should be there. It is my error and I apologise. I will not therefore press the new clause to a vote, but I intend to speak on it.

The Minister will know from my questions this morning and our subsequent discussions of my concerns about the Treasury reporting back, and basically letting us know if a tax change has had the intended effect. I have raised this on a number of occasions, in several different forums, and now I have thought of tabling it as an amendment to the Bill, I may do it more often, particularly to Finance Bills—perhaps on each aspect.

I spoke to the previous Financial Secretary, and perhaps even the one before that, about this issue. When it comes to tax reliefs and such like, the Treasury says, “This is going to generate x amount of revenue for the Treasury.” We have no recourse to see whether that amount has been generated for the Exchequer. The Government say they constantly keep things under review. At one point, I asked the Library to provide me with a list of the reviews that it could find for the tax relief measures that had been put in place through Finance Acts to see whether they had generated the level of revenue that was expected. A number of them had not been reviewed.

We are not asking for much here. We are asking the Government to tell us whether the law that they have proposed and taken through Parliament—that they have stood up and told us will generate £200 million of revenue—has actually generated that revenue. We can make better law if we better understand the effects of the previous legislation that we have passed.

The new clause would require the Secretary of State, within three years of Royal Assent, to lay before Parliament a report on the Exchequer impact of the Bill. I appreciate the answers that were given by the Minister and HMRC this morning—within three to five years, a review is undertaken and the intention would be the same on this Bill, and that review would be sent to the Treasury Committee, which would examine it. I have a number of issues with that.

Perhaps no one from the original Bill Committee may be on the Treasury Committee, so we may not see the effect of what we have passed. It would be incredibly useful if the Minister would commit to ensuring that any reviews that happen—preferably all of them—are sent to members of the original Bill Committee, as well as the Treasury Committee. That would be very useful. I know we have a change of personnel sometimes, but that would be a good start.

I have previously criticised the lack of a link between the Treasury Committee and those who sit on Finance Bill Committees. The Treasury Committee does a lot of very good scrutiny, but those of us on Finance Bill Committees may not see or be part of that scrutiny, and therefore, unless we go and dig out the evidence, which we find out from a colleague was given six months ago, we do not necessarily know that it exists. I have criticised the lack of a link previously. It is important that any reporting that is done is not just to the Treasury Committee. I do not suggest for a moment that the Committee is not incredibly competent and very good at its job; I am just suggesting a lack of link-up and communication.

It would be much appreciated if the Minister could commit to taking this on board and to ensuring that there is wider transparency and communication about any review. If it were published in, say, a ministerial statement, and flagged to those of us on the original Bill Committee, that would give us the opportunity to follow up with written parliamentary questions, for example, even though we are not on the Treasury Committee and cannot ask questions in oral evidence sessions. We could do that much more easily if the Minister committed to providing us with that information.

Photo of Peter Dowd Peter Dowd Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

We support the new clause, although we will not press it to a vote.

Given that there are not many people in the room and this probably will not be listened to very much, I can say that, as an Everton supporter, I none the less congratulate Liverpool on their 4-0 win. Not many people will hear that. I will deny I said it and will have it struck from Hansard. I also congratulate Man City on their win. I wish them the best of luck. At least there is a tenuous link with sporting testimonials.

Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

As a Wolves supporter, I am slightly bitter at the moment.

To answer the point made by the hon. Member for Aberdeen North, without repeating comments already made today, I appreciate her legitimate arguments. We feel that the measures in the Bill have been sufficiently consulted on. The long-standing tradition that a new piece of legislation will be reviewed within three to five years will apply. The review’s outcome will be in the public domain. It will be sent to the Treasury Committee. Ordinarily, it would be published on its website, and the hon. Lady or any other interested Members would be able to view it there. It will not be a private document only for the consumption of members of the Committee. I hope that will reassure her that we intend carry out a review in due course and that will be available for those who take an interest in it.

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman SNP Deputy Leader, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy)

I thank the Minister for that response—that I should set in my diary between 2023 and 2025 to regularly check the Treasury Committee’s website to see whether the review has been published. I am being sarcastic but, to be honest, it would be better if the Treasury could just commit to sending it to those Members on the original Bill Committee in all circumstances, rather than us having to imagine when the Treasury happens to do the review and have to go on and happen to find it on the right possible day. That would make for better lawmaking in this place. I will not push this because of the drafting error—it would not make sense to press something that has a mistake in it—but I will probably return to it on Report.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Bill to be reported, without amendment.

Committee rose.

Written evidence to be reported to the House

NIC 01 Chartered Institute of Taxation