HC Deb 01 July 1985 vol 82 cc64-5W
Mr. Meacher

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has made any estimate of the annual cost of changing from an exemption to a threshold system for national insurance contributions; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton

As we made clear in the Green Paper on Reform of Social Security (vol. 1, paragraph 11.5), it would cost some £6.5 billion a year to convert the existing lower earnings limit into a threshold. Such a change could only be paid for by higher contribution rates.

Mr. Tony Lloyd

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what circumstances individuals may make up national insurance contributions which were not collected during the appropriate working years.

Mr. Whitney

If the amount of national insurance contributions paid by an individual in any tax year is insufficient for pensions purposes, he may make up the deficiency by paying voluntary (class 3) contributions. Contributions in respect of years up to 5 April 1982 had to be paid by the end of the second year after the year in question. From April 1982 the time limit for payment has been six years. If, however, contributions for years from 1983–84 are paid more than two years late they may be charged at a higher rate.