Social Security Contributions (Transfer of Functions, etc.) Bill — Information — 24 Feb 1999

As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 2, line 16, leave out line 16.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord):

With this, it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 2, in page 2, line 18, leave out from 'prosecutions)' to end of line 19.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move amendment No. 3, in page 5, leave out lines 30 to 39 and insert

'for an officer of the Board to resubmit a case to the Commissioners if, in his view, a material change of circumstances has occurred since an earlier decision was made by the Commissioners; and in any such case it shall be for the Commissioners to determine whether any such change of circumstances which would warrant their setting aside their earlier decision has indeed occurred.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn .

I beg to move amendment No. 4, in page 15, line 4, leave out from 'shall' to end of line 5 and insert

'not be made unless a draft of it has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move amendment No. 6, in page 22, line 8, at end insert--

'(4AA) All such deductions, withholdings and payments by the Inland Revenue from sums due to the National Insurance Fund in each financial year shall be subject to a specific audit and report by the Audit Commission.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move amendment No. 7, in page 40, line 46, at end insert

'provided that, where such proceedings are brought without either distinguishing the amounts the employer is liable to pay or specifying the employees in question, the employer, if he be found guilty of any material default in his obligation to pay National Insurance, shall be entitled to be indemnified by the Inland Revenue for any costs and expenses incurred in defending himself in any such proceedings.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move amendment No. 8, in page 46, line 3, at end insert

'except that, in the case of the authorities listed in sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) above, such information shall exclude the names or addresses of individuals.'.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn .

Order for Third Reading read.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

The Third Reading debate traditionally provides an opportunity to thank hon. Members who have taken part in our debates. I am grateful for the work and help of my hon. Friends, especially my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary. This has been a good example of joined-up government and of how our Departments work together.

The Bill has also been an interesting example of disjointed opposition. It has rightly been asked why, given the clear Treasury interest in the Bill, and with Social Security and Treasury Ministers working together, no member of the Opposition Treasury team appeared during our deliberations. I can reveal the reason: the shadow Chancellor supports the measure. When the hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) was challenged on the point by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security on Second Reading, he said that the shadow Chancellor's position would become clear when he voted that evening. He was right; it became crystal clear. The shadow Chancellor did not vote that evening. He declined to support his colleagues in the Lobby on Second Reading because he has always been a strong supporter of this measure.

The hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies) has been indefatigable in his questioning, for which I pay tribute to him. He is also on record as having supported measures along these lines. He put his name to the report last February of the Tax Law Review Committee, which called for a merger of the appeals processes for tax and national insurance. It is difficult to reconcile that with the position that he took in our debates. Nevertheless, I pay tribute to his energy.

The hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Rendel) has been supportive, if, thankfully, less vociferous. I pay tribute to his diligence, and am pleased that he is in his place. Once we rid the debate on the Bill of the baggage that Conservative Members tried, and failed, to attach to it, we are left with a sensible administrative measure that reduces burdens on business. I have referred several times to the report of the 1994-95 deregulation task force, chaired by the shadow Chancellor, which recommended the merger of the Inland Revenue and the Contributions Agency. That urged the Government to action. The Bill takes forward that action. I urge Conservative Members to join the Government, the business community, the Liberal Democrats and even the shadow Chancellor in supporting the Bill, which I commend to the House.

24 Feb 1999 : Column 443

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:--

The House divided: Ayes 344, Noes 89.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (Aye)Minority (No)BothTurnout
Con0 89 (+2 tell)056.2%
DUP1 0050.0%
Independent1 00100.0%
Independent Labour1 00100.0%
Lab293 (+2 tell) 0070.7%
LDem35 0076.1%
PC3 0075.0%
SNP2 0033.3%
UUP8 0080.0%
Total:344 89067.3%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

no rebellions

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