To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will introduce an early warning system to inform contributors that they need to make back payments on their national insurance contributions to maximise their pension rights; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will produce advice for the public on arrangements for making back-payments of national insurance contributions to help people to maximise their pension rights; and if he will make a statement.
[holding answer 24 February 1992]: The Department already writes automatically to relevant groups of contributors following the end of any year in which their contribution record is insufficient to count towards basic retirement pension. In addition, the Department also provides a retirement pension forecast to contributors: they can request a forecast by completing an application form (BR 19) obtainable at local social security offices. The forecast gives details of the pension entitlement based on the national insurance record held. It states the number of qualifying years required in the future to obtain the maximum pension which can be achieved, and offers advice on the payment of additional contributions, if required.The Contributions Agency has a high level of commitment to provide information and assistance to all its customers. This is shown in the charters recently issued by the agency and I will send the hon. Member copies of these documents.