HC Deb 06 June 1997 vol 295 cc267-8W
Dr. Tony Wright

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what action she intends to take to stop the practice of employers paying part of employees' wages in vouchers. [2260]

Dr. Gibson

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment she has made of the economic impact on households of employers issuing shopping vouchers in lieu of wages. [2297]

Mr. Denham

The Government are aware of employers' use of vouchers as (part) payment of wages. In 1994–95, about £40 million was paid through such practices to approximately 160,000 employees whose earnings, including benefits in kind, were £8,500 per annum or more, and to directors. The available information does not distinguish between shopping vouchers and other forms of voucher.

We are committed to the principle of National Insurance (NI) and take very seriously any form of abuse which undermines the integrity of the scheme. We shall look carefully at any pay practices adopted by employers to avoid payment of NI contributions and will take appropriate action against abuse. We will keep the position, including the economic impact on employees' households, under review.

Source: Inland Revenue Statistics 1996.