asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the exact conditions under which a married woman may exercise her option to pay reduced national insurance contributions when she is (a) not working at all in 1977–78, (b) does not work in 1977–78, but commences employment in 1978–79, or in 1979–80, or in 1980–81 and (c) is currently employed, ceases employment in 1977–78 and recommences in 1979–80 or later.
The information requested is set out below.The option to pay at the reduced rate Class 1 national insurance contributions for which married women become liable now or in the future is available only to those women whose marriages took place before 6th April 1977 and who either have already given written notice of an election to that effect or give such notice by 11th May 1977. This time limit applies whether the woman is at work or not. Women whose marriages were before 6th April 1975 and who had elected not to pay national insurance contributions under the old legislation can be treated as having given such notice. After 11th May 1977 the only choice open to married women lies in the provision that those who have elected to have this reduced liability can revoke the election; their liability will then be at the standard rate from the beginning of the next tax year following the revocation. In each of the cases cited reduced liability once acquired continues while the woman remains liable for contributions, but ceases if there is no liability for Class 1
contributions nor self-employment in two successive tax years falling after 5th April 1978; thus:
(a) a woman who does not work in the 1977–78 tax year will have reduced liability when she starts to earn only if she has made an election by 11th May 1977 and next becomes liable for a contribution before 6th April 1980; (b) a woman who has made an election by 11th May 1977 will have reduced liability on next commencing work in the 1978–79 or 1979–80 tax years, but not if she has no earnings until 1980–81 or a later year; (c) a woman who has made an election by 11th May 1977 will have reduced liability in the 1977–78 tax year. If her next earnings fall in the 1979–80 year she will still have reduced liability; but if she has no earnings until after 5th April 1980 her option will lapse on that date.