§ Mr. Tiley
asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will make a statement on the progress of contracting out under the National Insurance Act, 1959.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Yes. As my hon. Friend knows, the Registrar's practice is to encourage employers who are thinking of contracting out to submit their pension schemes to him and to discuss with him informally any modifications which may be necessary. So far 4,767 schemes have been submitted. An "election"—that is, a formal application for a certificate—is, of course, appropriate only when any necessary modifications have been made to the scheme and due notice has been given to employees. So far, 1,953 such elections have been made, and 1,050 certificates have actually been issued covering 756,096 contributors.
The number of elections made is small by comparison with the number of employers who have consulted the Registrar with a view to contracting out or who have otherwise indicated their intention so to do. I realise, of course, that discussions with employees and the modifying of schemes may take some time and that there are a great many cases where this is in progress and where the Registrar may expect to receive an election soon. Nevertheless, I would take the opportunity of reminding employers that only about five months 287W remain before the beginning of the graduated scheme and that it is essential that those of them who want certificates in operation by next April should apply for them very soon. As I told the House on 23rd March last, employers who leave matters too late may find that a 288W certificate cannot be issued to them before the start of the graduated scheme, in which case they will, of course, be liable for the National Insurance graduated contributions from April, 1961, until such time as the certificate is issued and takes effect.