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NI changes hit construction unfairly

LETTERS

Sir, We were naturally interested to see your front page report on National Insurance concessions (Construction News, October 12).

We are aware that the Inland Revenue is reviewing the legislation that allows this concession.

This appears to be due to companies outside of construction using legislation to avoid paying the right level of National Insurance.

This long-standing concession was granted to the construction industry because of the transient nature of its employment.

It underpins the National Working Rule Agreement by supporting employers in the provision of employee benefits for manual workers.

If the NI concession goes, the construction industry will lose tax benefits of £24 million.

This loss will be as a direct result of other industry sectors abusing the system.

B&CE is a financially strong company that offers a range of schemes and services to customers, and we are pleased to say that it does not rely on the concession for its existence.

B&CE was established in 1942 and functioned effectively long before the concession was granted and there is no reason to suggest that this cannot continue if the concession is withdrawn.

We believe that most employers will want to continue to look after their employees through a scheme that is relatively low cost and operated effectively by a not-for-profit company.

Approximately two thirds of contractors which use an industry-specific employee benefit scheme use the full employee benefits package, Template.

But we are concerned that without this package some of those employed by our members would not receive the employee benefits offered by Template.

We are hopeful that the concession will continue to be granted to the construction industry and will co-operate in any discussions the Revenue wishes to have with us.

Brian Griffiths, Chief executive, B&CE Benefit Schemes Crawley West Sussex