§ Mr. Gordon Marsden
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what steps were taken to publicise 163W the consultation paper on the draft regulations to bring non-cash vouchers into Class 1 National Insurance liability; and what specific steps were taken to consult those organisations affected; 
(2) if he will assess the impact on jobs in the UK catering sector of the proposal to bring luncheon vouchers into Class 1 National Insurance liability; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the weekly cost to those employees in receipt of luncheon vouchers of the proposal to bring them into Class 1 National Insurance liability; 
(4) to what extent the procedures outlined in the "Better Regulation Guide", published on 10 August, have been followed in respect of the draft regulations to bring non-cash vouchers into Class 1 National Insurance liability. 
§ Mr. Timms
The Government proposals were announced during the passage of the Social Security Bill, 22 July 1997,Official Report, column 786 and 25 November 1997, Official Report, columns 468–69, and in DSS Press Release 97/127. The proposals are intended to introduce greater fairness in the National Insurance treatment of cash and non-cash earnings. The technical detail of the regulations were subject to a public consultation exercise which ran from 14 August to 14 September. Over 100 businesses and representatives were contacted, about 50 organisations or individuals replied.
An explanatory and financial memorandum, and a regulatory appraisal, were published alongside the Bill in July 1997. The regulatory costs and impact of the proposal to make non-cash vouchers liable for National Insurance in the same way as cash vouchers was set out in the Social Security Compliance Cost Assessment published in December 1997. A copy of that regulatory appraisal accompanied the consultation paper on the draft regulations issued in August.
The Better Regulation Guide gives Departments discretion to adopt an approach best suited to the scale of the proposal and the data available.
The weekly cost to those employees in receipt of luncheon vouchers will vary depending on the value of the voucher and the level of earnings. On current standard rates, the extra National Insurance liability will be 50 pence a week for an employee receiving a £5 a week luncheon voucher and earning between the lower and upper earnings level. Some employers may choose to meet the costs of their employees' National Insurance contribution liability on vouchers.