HC Deb 28 June 1978 vol 952 cc607-8W
Mr. Sproat

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his policy towards the practice of certain employers to hire persons receiving social security benefits in respect of unemployment, pay them low wages in cash without entering such wages in their books, thus enabling employers to save on wage costs and national insurance contributions and the employees to receive combined income from tax-free if low wages and tax-free social security benefits in cash and kind.

Mr. Orme

I would refer the hon. Member to my statement on 7th December 1977—[Vol. 940, c.745–8]—in which I drew specific attention to this issue. The report of the Co-ordinating Committee on Abuse, a copy of which I placed in the Library of the House, discussed the problem in detail, referred to administrative measures which were to be taken to tackle it, and raised the possibility of legislation—for example, to make collusive employment a specific offence. The only reaction to the legislative proposals from the hon. Member's own party was to oppose them without suggesting alternatives.

I still intend to deal with the problem vigorously, and am already adopting the administrative measures mentioned in the report.