HC Deb 29 July 1997 vol 299 cc247-8W
Mr. Pond

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will estimate the cost to(a) employers and (b) the Exchequer of extending entitlement to statutory sick pay to employees with earnings below the lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions assuming that (i) entitlement is at the standard rate of SSP and (ii) entitlement is limited to a replacement of normal earnings, giving figures (1) gross and (2) net of any savings in other benefits. [8197]

Mr. Denham

The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows.

We aim to ensure a measure of financial help for people during short periods of sickness; to support employers, particularly small businesses, in their administration of the statutory sick pay scheme; and to secure value for taxpayers' money.

Based upon Government Actuary's Department best estimates of SSP case load, it is estimated that providing sickness cover to employees earning below the lower earnings limit equivalent to the standard rate of SSP would cost approximately £120 million at 1996–97 levels.