To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many cases of firms withholding national insurance contributions which had been deducted from the pay of employees have been discovered by his Department during each of the years 1980 to 1986 inclusive; what were the amounts involved; how many members of his Department are engaged in investigating such matters; and if he will make a statement.
The information requested on numbers of cases and amounts involved is not available. There are some 2,000 national insurance inspectors engaged on work, including examination of employers' records, to ensure compliance with national insurance contributions regulations.Instances of employers collecting, but not paying over national insurance contributions could come to light in routine examination of employers' records by the Department's inspectors or Inland Revenue PAYE auditors and through employees receiving from the Department a statement informing them that their national insurance record was deficient. All such cases are investigated urgently and there are special arrangements to protect the national insurance records of the employees affected to avoid loss of benefit entitlement. The Department has no evidence suggesting that this type of abuse is widespread, but it is investigating a recent report alleging instances in the west midlands.