HC Deb 04 December 1967 vol 755 cc943-4
47. Mrs. Knight

asked the Minister of Social Security if she will now reduce the scale of National Insurance contributions paid by employers for part-time workers, in order to encourage the use of such workers to assist the export drive.

Mr. Pentland

It has never been found practicable to introduce a reduced rate of contribution for part-time workers within the framework of the existing scheme of flat-rate contributions and benefits, but the position of such workers is being considered in our general review of the social security provisions.

Mrs. Knight

Will not the Minister accept that the rules as they at present are militate against the employment of part-time workers; and that not only might such workers make a useful contribution to exports but that, in the present climate of falling standards of living, they need employment very badly? Will he please bear all these points in mind?

Mr. Pentland

We are doing just that, but it has also to be borne in mind that it could be quite unfair if the employers' contribution depended on the personal position of the employee. We should then have a situation which could lead to discrimination against certain employees.

Mr. Worsley

But would not the hon. Gentleman agree that, particularly in the case of the single woman looking after a dependant, this is a very severe disincentive to going out to work? Will he not have second thoughts about this, as his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had about S.E.T.?

Mr. Pentland

No, Sir. This is the kind of difficult problem which we are already looking into in the review.