§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what new steps she is taking to protect the benefit payments to the part-time employed. 
§ Mr. Keith Bradley
The changes we are making to National Insurance from April next year will reduce the amount all employees' pay, but will not affect their benefit entitlements. Our longer term aim is to align the starting point at which employees pay National Insurance with the single person's income tax allowance. When we do so we will ensure that benefit rights are protected. We shall be considering how best to provide this protection and will bring forward proposals in due course.