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National Insurance

Volume 98: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many instances have been recorded of employers' failure to pay national insurance contributions in full or in part (a) as a total nationally, (b) in the north-east of England, (c) within Cleveland

Action in respect of employers who have failed to pay N.I. contributions
Number of employers prosecutedNumber of employers suedNumber of employers where arrears were written off
Great Britain:—
April 1983 to April 19841,9712,0804,990
April 1984 to April 19851,3261,5706,310
April 1985 to April 1986131,2594,652
North East Region:—
April 1983 to April 1984437344522
April 1984 to April 1985235145469
April 1985 to April 1986Nil120470
Numbers of employers who became insolvent owing arrears of N.I. contributions
Company liquidationsPersonal bankruptcies
April 1983 to April 198413,7161,435
April 1984 to April 198513,9801,876
April 1985 to April 198614,0421,846

Note: No separate figures are available for the north east.

Number of employers involved in Inland Revenue actions to obtain payment of employees' N.I. contributions


November 1982 to November 198320,808
November 1983 to November 198422,642
November 1984 to November 198522,287

Note:No separate figures are available for the north east.


(a) The marked reduction in the numbers of employers prosecuted in 1985–86 was due to the announcement on 12 November 1984 of the intention to repeal section 152(4) of the Social Security Act 1975. Previously a criminal conviction was sought under that section against a limited liability company before proceeding against the directors personally for recovery of outstanding arrears of NI contributions. The announcement resulted in the cessation of criminal proceedings under that section.

(b) Under section 152(4) (now repealed), the same employer will often have been both prosecuted and sued. The sum of the two figures does not therefore represent the number of employers involved.

(c) Some of the insolvent employers will be also included in the prosecution or civil action figures, because civil proceedings can result in petitions to make an employer insolvent, and most section 152(4) proceedings were instituted against limited companies in liquidation.

(d) The Inland Revenue initiate action against employers to recover unpaid NI contributions but if they are unsuccessful they transfer the outstanding debt to my Department for continuing action. Therefore the figures of Inland Revenue actions will include some employers included in the figures in the first two tables.