HL Deb 11 March 1975 vol 358 cc263-4

8.45 p.m.

Lord DONALDSON of KINGS-BRIDGE rose to move, That the Draft Selective Employment Premium (Northern Ireland) Order 1975, laid before the House on 13th February, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the main purpose of the Draft Order is to provide a basis for continuing to pay selective employment premium in Northern Ireland after 6th April 1975. Selective employment premium is paid to employers in Northern Ireland's manufacturing industry on the same basis and at the same rates as regional employment premium in development areas in Great Britain. This Order is required on tech-nical grounds. It makes no change in the amounts of premium payable weekly (which are £3 for men and £1.50 for women and boys); nor does it otherwise alter the main features of the scheme which operates in parity with the arrangements in Great Britain.

The Order is required because one of the existing conditions of entitlement to premium is payment of an employer's flat rate National Insurance contribution. Under the Social Security Act 1973 the flat rate contribution will disappear on 6th April 1975, with the introduction of a wholly earnings-related system of contributions. It is therefore necessary to stipulate a new condition for eligible employers. The Draft Order proposes to do this on a simple basis, which is very close to the existing condition and which is in line with recent Westminster legislation which has similarly provided for the continued payment of Regional Employment Premium in Great Britain. Article 2, together with Schedule I, has the effect of entitling an employer whose establishment satisfies the required con-ditions, to receive selective employment premium in respect of any week in which he employs an employee for eight hours or more and pays him for his employment.

If approved, the Draft Order will allow this important regional incentive to continue to be paid to manufacturing industry in Northern Ireland, where, as in our . other hard pressed regions, it helps to preserve jobs and industrial capacity. I commend it to the House, and I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft Selective Employment Premium (Northern Ireland) Order 1975, laid before the House on 13th February, be approved.—(Lord Donald-son of Kingsbridge.)