§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to his answer of 7 April 1998,Official Report, column 228, on National Insurance, when the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment will write to the hon. Member for Havant. 
§ Dr. Howells
We are still awaiting assessments by the Further and Higher Education Funding Councils of the impact on the further and higher education sectors respectively of changes to employers' National Insurance contributions from April 1999. Meanwhile, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals have estimated that the annual cost to the higher education sector across the UK is likely to be some £10 million. In the case of further education, we estimate that the effect of the changes is likely to be a small saving of around £5 million per annum. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as we have received and considered the Funding Councils' advice.