Clause 36 - Health service bodies: exemptions

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 4 Mehefin 2013.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury) 2:30, 4 Mehefin 2013

The clause is a short, technical one, which ensures that certain health service bodies created by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 will be exempt from corporation tax, as their predecessor bodies were. As I understand it, that would include the new clinical commissioning groups and the three bodies whose status the Act has changed from special health authorities to non-departmental public bodies: the Health and Social Care Information Centre, the NHS Commissioning Board and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

The Minister is well aware of the Opposition’s views on the 2012 Act. I am sure we do not need to repeat debates we had in other places about that Act, although we retain our concerns, particularly those about turning the NHS into a full-blown commercial market and about the danger of putting competition before patient care. The Government’s own estimates have now put the cost of implementing the reforms at some £300 million more than originally planned—the cost will be around  £3.5 billion in total. There has been a wide range of criticism from various groups, including the chief executive of the NHS, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Patients Association and a long list of many others. It is clear that there are still many concerns about the reforms.

I have no doubt that we could have debated the rights and wrongs of the Government’s reforms to the NHS all day, once again, had that been the proper thing to do, but, as I said, our views are well known. Despite strong opposition both inside Parliament and across the country, that Act is now part of our legislation. However, for the sake of transparency, will the Minister give us his assessment of the cost to the Exchequer of the measure in the clause? On a technical point, will he also confirm, for the record, that the NHS Commissioning Board referred to in the Bill is actually the newly renamed NHS England? I believe there have already been some exchanges on that issue. Is there any likelihood that there could be any confusion, and if so, should there be more formal clarification?