National Insurance Contributions (Reduction in Rates) Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 4:13 pm ar 12 Rhagfyr 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Primarolo Baroness Primarolo Llafur 4:13, 12 Rhagfyr 2023

My Lords, I will make a short intervention in this debate to ask the Minister a few questions about the allocation from the National Insurance Fund to the NHS following the introductions of the measures in the Bill.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that 19% of the National Insurance Fund is paid directly to the NHS. My first question to the Minister is, will she confirm that that percentage is correct? When Governments quote figures going to the NHS, they always talk in cash terms, but when we see a reduction in funding for the National Insurance Fund, it is good to know exactly what we are talking about. Will the Minister confirm the percentage allocated to the National Health Service from the National Insurance Fund?

Secondly, will the Minister assure your Lordships’ House that the cash value currently paid in funding to the NHS from the National Insurance Fund will not be reduced as a result of these measures? Would she be good enough, after this debate, to provide the forecast figures for both the percentage and the cash terms of the money paid from the National Insurance Fund to the NHS? Should there be any shortfall, will she give an undertaking on behalf of the Government that that reduction—that loss of funding—will be made good by the Government from general taxation: that it will be earmarked not as extra funding but as replacement funding, should there be any reduction as a result of the measures in the Bill?

I absolutely appreciate that national insurance Bills are incredibly complicated, having dealt with them in the past in another place, so if the Minister does not have that information at her fingertips, which I would entirely understand, I would be more than happy for her to write to me and the relevant spokespersons in the House with those figures. While reducing national insurance has the implications that the Minister has rightly identified, it also has a potential downside, and we need to know what that is. Will the funding of the National Health Service be protected?