§ Mr. Salmond
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received with regard to reducing employers' national insurance contributions to stimulate employment; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Heald
We occasionally receive representations from business about the level of national insurance contributions. To improve employment prospects, the Government have substantially reduced employers' contribution rates in recent years, particularly in respect of lower paid employees. The lowest rate for employers is now 3 per cent. compared with 13.5 per cent., including the national insurance surcharge, in 1979. We have already announced our intention to further reduce the main rate of employers' contributions by 0.2 per cent., some £500 million, from April 1997.
Britain's non-wage labour costs are amongst the lowest in Europe.