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House of Commons Hansard

Income Tax/National Insurance

18 July 2017
Volume 627
  • 12. If he will make an assessment of the potential merits of merging income tax and national insurance. [900557]

  • The Government are committed to simplifying the tax system. In 2015, we asked the Office of Tax Simplification to provide an independent assessment of the alignment of income tax and national insurance contributions. We have already taken action in a number of places highlighted by the report. However, alignment now would cause significant upheaval for millions. Now is not the right time for further reform in this area.

  • I welcome my right hon. Friend to his new ministerial role. Last year the Office of Tax Simplification said that bringing national insurance and income tax closer together would create a simpler and fairer system for business and taxpayers. As national insurance and income tax revenues go into the same pot, would it not be simpler and clearer to merge the two and have one single income tax?

  • As I said, we recognise the value of merging national insurance and income tax where that is practical and achievable, and there are some measures coming up in the Bills in the autumn that will address that in certain circumstances, but to do it right across the piece at this stage is perhaps a long-term aspiration rather than one we will be addressing in the short term.

  • The Minister will know that as people go into the higher tax threshold they stop paying more national insurance, so would one of the impacts of merging the two be to reveal that the British tax system is not as progressive as people think, and make the case for those with the broadest shoulders to pay more?

  • The hon. Gentleman needs to recognise that national insurance and income tax function in different ways and have different roles in the tax system. We have one of the most progressive tax systems in the entire country. If we look at, for example, those earning above—[Interruption.] Well, by raising the personal tax allowance we have taken 3 million to 4 million people out of income tax altogether. For those earning over £100,000, where we removed the allowance, that, plus national insurance, means that the marginal rates are up to 62% at that level of income.