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National Insurance Contributions Bill completes passage through parliament

15 March 2022

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The National Insurance Contributions Bill returned to the Lords for consideration of Commons amendments in ‘ping pong’, on Monday 14 March.

The National Insurance Contributions Bill aims to:

  • introduce national insurance relief for employers based in freeport sites and employers of ex-service personnel

  • provide exemptions for those in COVID-19 self-isolation support schemes

  • create provisions for anti-tax avoidance initiatives.

Consideration of amendments 

The bill was considered by the House of Lords between 1 December 2021 and 22 February 2022, before passing back to the House of Commons for consideration of Lords amendments. 

Members of the Lords considered Commons reasons for disagreeing to Lords amendments to the bill.

Commons reasons were accepted by members without a division (vote).

As both Houses agreed on the text of the bill it had its final stage of Royal Assent at the end of the sitting, and is now an Act of Parliament (law).

Catch up

Explore further information

Read background on the bill in the House of Lords Library briefing.

What's happened so far?

Third reading: Tuesday 22 February

Third reading is the chance for members to ‘tidy up' a bill, making small changes to ensure it is effective.  

No changes to the wording of the bill were put forward ahead of third reading. Members discussed the progress of the bill through the House at the conclusion of Lords stages.  

Catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Report stage: Monday 7 February

Members speaking at report stage put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to be discussed.

Lords divisions

There were two divisions (votes), on proposed changes to the bill.

Freeport sites

The first vote was on amendment 2, which requires that tax relief for a freeport site is only available if there is a public record of the beneficial ownership of businesses operating on the site.

Members voted 195 in favour and 179 against, so the change was made.

Armed forces veterans

The second vote was on amendment 6, which grants the Treasury powers to extend the eligibility period for zero-rate relief for armed forces veterans, to improve their chances of finding long-term employment.

Members voted 197 in favour and 175 against, so the change was made.

Catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Committee stage: Monday 10 January

Members speaking at committee stage put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to the bill to be discussed.

The amendments covered a range of subjects, including:

  • ensuring employers have declared the beneficial ownership of goods or assets in the freeport before being eligible for zero-rate contributions

  • altering the conditions attached to zero-rate relief for armed forces veterans.

Catch up on Parliament TV or read the transcrip in Lords Hansard.

Second reading: Wednesday 1 December 2021

Members discussed the main issues in the bill during the second reading debate. These included:

  • how the bill will affect the finacial state of the National Insurance Fund
  • the economic impact on fully taxed areas
  • extending the proposed relief period (12 months) for ex-servicepeople.

Members speaking

Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative), government whip and the bill's sponsor in the Lords, opened the debate and respond on behalf of the government.

Members speaking in the debate included:

  • Lord Bilimoria (Crossbench), president of the Confedertion of British Industry

  • Lord Davies of Brixton (Labour), director and actuary of Union Pension Services Limited

  • Baroness Kramer (Liberal Democrats), member of the Social Market Foundation Advisory Board

  • Lord Sikka (Labour), senior adviser to the Tax Justice Network.

Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Image: Adobe Stock