Public Bill Committee: National Insurance Contributions (Termination Awards and Sporting Testimonials) Bill: Termination awards: Great Britain Redundency

Mike Wood: Understandably, several concerns have been expressed about the impact that any changes might have, particularly on people on lower incomes who might have served in a job for many years before being made redundant. Can the Minister explain how the £30,000 threshold compares with the maximum available from statutory redundancy pay, and who might be captured by the measure?

 

Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary

My hon. Friend makes an important point. Statutory redundancy pay is £15,000, so for these purposes, £30,000 appears generous. I have already made the international comparisons. It is also important to point out that there are a number of exemptions altogether, for discrimination, physical harm, disability and so on, set out in other areas of legislation to ensure that those who are particularly vulnerable and deserving are protected when it comes to the payment they receive for their injuries.

I will briefly discuss the amendments that would be made to the Bill if new clauses 1 and 4 were accepted. New clause 1, tabled by the hon. Member for Aberdeen North, seeks to require the Government to produce a report on the impact of class 1A NICs on termination awards. Furthermore, it specifies that the report must contain

“an assessment of the expected impact” of the changes in certain respects, which I will not list here but which are available in the Bill documents. New clause 4, tabled by John McDonnell and the hon. Members for Bootle, for Oxford East, for Stalybridge and Hyde (Jonathan Reynolds) and for Manchester, Withington from the official Opposition, also asks the Government to report on several similar issues to those covered in new clause 1.

The new clauses are unnecessary because they seek to force the Government to report on a narrowly prescribed set of issues, most of which have been considered during the detailed consultation that has already been completed and that I have outlined, ahead of new information becoming available. The Government are already committed to reviewing the measures and being transparent about the impact that they are expected to have.

It is worth giving Committee members a little more detail on these issues. First, the Government do not deem it appropriate to conduct reports that have been very narrowly constructed. A report focused exclusively on one aspect of the Government’s reforms to termination payments—the distribution analysis, for example—would miss other important aspects such as the impact on the levels of tax avoidance or the funding of public services.