National Insurance Contributions Bill

The bill would introduce national insurance relief schemes for employers based in freeport tax sites, as well as for employers of ex-service personnel. The bill also makes other provisions around national insurance. This briefing considers: the background to the bill; what it would do and what happened during its passage through the House of Commons.

National Insurance Contributions Bill

Mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting

Unlike the gender pay gap, there is no legal requirement for companies to publish their ethnicity pay gap. A recent report by the Commission for Race and Ethnic Disparities recommended that the practice remain voluntary due to a lack of diversity in some parts of the country. A coalition of workers’ groups have called for ethnicity pay gap reporting to be made mandatory so employers can better address pay disparities.

Mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting

Social care funding: a rise in national insurance

On 7 September 2021, the Government announced plans to increase the funding of health and social care through a new tax: the health and social care levy. The levy will be based on a rise in national insurance and will raise £12 billion a year on average over the next three years. Many commentators have raised concerns that this approach is unfair on younger people and low earners.

Social care funding: a rise in national insurance
  • In Focus

    Universal credit: an end to the uplift

    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in March 2020 the Government announced an uplift to universal credit and working tax credits worth £20 a week. Initially planned to last for a year, the policy was extended by six months in the March 2021 budget. In July 2021, the Government confirmed that it would not be extended further. This announcement has been met with widespread criticism.

  • In Focus

    Status of Workers Bill [HL]

    The Status of Workers Bill is a private member’s bill that seeks to amend employment rights and trade union legislation to give statutory employment rights to all workers other than the genuinely self-employed. The current legal framework distinguishes between employees and workers, with the latter having fewer rights. There are also concerns that people may miss out on employment rights if they are in false self-employment or working through a personal service company.

  • In Focus

    Mental health and universal credit claims

    Universal credit is a benefit paid to over five million households. The ‘digital by default’ system replaces six ‘legacy benefits’ and aims to simplify the benefits system and encourage claimants into work. Concerns have been raised about the complexity of the application process and how this impacts those with mental health needs. The Money and Mental Health Institute recently called for changes to make it simpler to nominate a third party to help claimants.

  • In Focus

    Foreign languages: skills in the workforce

    Surveys consistently indicate just under two in three Britons are unable to hold a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue. A number of organisations have drawn attention to this so-called ‘language deficit’ and its impact on trade and employment. This article looks at calls to improve language skills in England in the context of the Government’s ambition for a ‘Global Britain’.

  • In Focus

    Promoting tourism in the UK

    The UK’s tourism industry has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Ahead of a House of Lords debate on 24 June 2021 to take note of the need to promote tourism in the UK, this article looks at how the sector has been affected, and the Government’s response, including its recently published Tourism Recovery Plan.

  • In Focus

    Office of the Whistleblower Bill [HL]

    Calls for reform to the UK’s legislative framework for whistleblowing have increased in recent years. The Office of the Whistleblower Bill would require the establishment of a new body to provide guidance and support to whistleblowers, amongst other things. This article looks at what the bill would do, why it has been introduced, and parliamentary discussion that has taken place on the subject.

  • In Focus

    Meeting the demand for nurses: looking abroad?

    The UK has significant unmet demand for nurses. This country has a history of recruiting nurses from overseas, and the Government aims to encourage more nurses trained abroad to come to work in the UK. However, the Government also takes into account ethical considerations relating to the recruitment of nurses from countries which themselves have a shortage of healthcare staff.

  • In Focus

    Government investment programmes: the ‘green book’

    The Government’s ‘green book’ describes how major public sector investment projects are assessed. In March 2020, the Government announced a review of the approach, to improve how the green book supports strategic priorities such as its ‘levelling up’ agenda and the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The review’s conclusions were published in November 2020, followed by a revised green book in December 2020.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19: Empowering women in the recovery from the impact of the pandemic

    Women have been specifically affected by the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Reasons for this include that they are over-represented in some of the worst-hit sectors, and that they do a greater share of unpaid care. The Government has said it wants women’s economic empowerment to be a focus in the post-pandemic recovery period. But it has faced criticism for not taking enough account of gender equality in its approach.

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