§ 12. Mr. Peter Pike (Burnley) (Lab)
What revenue his Department estimates would be received by HM Treasury if the ceiling were to be removed on national insurance contributions on earnings in a full financial year. 
§ The Paymaster General (Dawn Primarolo)
The estimate provided by the Government Actuary's Department is £5.6 billion in 2004–05.
§ Mr. Pike
I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. That is a lot of money. Remembering that the Treasury team believe that this Government are best when we are a Labour Government, can we not remove that ceiling, so that we can do more to help the poorer people in this country and spend more on the health service and other such matters?
§ Dawn Primarolo
As my hon. Friend will know, all those matters are for the Chancellor to consider in the Budget. With regard to pensions, however, the £10 billion extra includes £5 billion more on the poorest one third of pensioners. There is a commitment in relation to the 1 per cent. national insurance contribution rise to secure substantial and sustained increases in the national health service. That will provide investment in more nurses, more doctors and 100 more hospitals, to ensure that we have the health service to which people in this country aspire.
§ Gregory Barker (Bexhill and Battle) (Con)
Removing the ceiling would be another massive tax rise, but there have already been 66 tax rises under the Labour Government. How many more tax rises will there be before this Parliament is out?
§ Dawn Primarolo
I will not be taking prompts from the hon. Gentleman about tax rises, given his party's record when in government. Nor will I be taking any prompts for cuts in the public services, which his party is suggesting. We will continue the sustained investment to provide the education, health service and transport system that the people of this country want.