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Volume 463: debated on Monday 1 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to paragraph 14 of the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General on the National Insurance Fund account 2003-04 (HC 197 2004-05), how many deficiency notices were issued by his Department to individuals over state pension age; what proportion of recipients made an initial response; what proportion of respondents made additional contributions; what the value was of those contributions; what his latest estimate is of the resultant arrears of benefit expenditure; and if he will make a statement. (155044)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The Department for Work and Pensions issued 470,000 deficiency notices to customers.

The response rate to the initial enquiries was estimated to be 70 per cent. To date, the Department for Work and Pensions has received 290,000 enquiries; a 62 per cent. response rate. Customers have up to 2009 or 2010 to respond (depending on their year of birth) as these are the cut-off dates for the payment of the six years voluntary contributions under the provisions of the Deficiency Notice Exercise.

It was estimated that 25 per cent. of the individuals who responded would make additional contributions. The actual number of individuals who have made additional contributions to date is 69,249. This equates to 24 per cent. of the number of individuals who responded.

The value of the additional national insurance contributions which would be paid was estimated to be £32 million. The value of national insurance contributions collected to date is £46.9 million.

The arrears of benefit expenditure including interest on back-dated payments was estimated to be £103 million. The actual amount of benefit including interest paid out to customers under the provisions of the Deficiency Notice Exercise to date is £87.7 million.