The National Insurance Contributions Bill reached its Report Stage and Third Reading on January 13, with TGLP continuing our campaign to include East and South East London in the National Insurance ‘holiday’.
London, the East and South East are excluded from the measure, which grants all new businesses a year’s National Insurance payment holiday for their first 10 employees, a saving of up to £50,000 per business.
The debate on the National Insurance Contributions Bill featured strong support for the Thames Gateway with five MPs making speeches pushing for the areas inclusion which drew on briefing provided by TGLP. In total 92 MPs voted to include the London Thames Gateway in the National Insurance Holiday, but the amendment was defeated.
Speaking during the debate, Mike Gapes MP for Ilford South said:
“The Thames Gateway Partnership for London, recently wrote to [all Thames Gateway] Members……. to point out the discriminatory nature of the proposals and to urge the Government, even at this stage to see what they can do to help the Thames Gateway authorities. The partnership pointed out that there are 3.5 million residents in the Thames Gateway local authorities area and that it believes that “in excluding London and the South East from the regional freeze on National Insurance contributions the government is failing to take proper account of local economies, particularly the challenges faced by the Thames Gateway growth corridor”.”
Whilst we are disappointed that amendments allowing for the inclusion of the London Thames Gateway were not carried, we were encouraged by the level of support for the London Thames Gateway during the debate. After discussions with local MPs we understand that they are keen to return to the exclusion of the London Thames Gateway in the future and TGLP will endeavour to support them as best we can.
The Bill then passed to the House of Lords where the London Thames Gateway was also raised during the Second Reading Debate with a number of peers arguing the area should be included.
The Bill will now face scrutiny in Lords Grand Committee. TGLP will continue to make the case for the country’s most deprived areas, including within the London Thames Gateway, to be included in this National Insurance ‘holiday’.