§ Lord BARNBY
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the National Insurance Fund is in balance and, if not, to what extent the imbalance is due to payments on account of unemployment benefits.
§ Lord WELLS-PESTELL
It is estimated that, allowing for the cost of the benefit increases due to start in November, expenditure from the National Insurance Fund will exceed income by £368 million in the current financial year, leaving a balance of nearly £1,6001248WA million. About £250 million of the deficit is due to the once-for-all delay in receipt of contribution income which results from the change on 6th April 1975 to wholly earnings related contributions collected with PAYE. The estimate was based on the assumption, among others, that the number of unemployed (excluding school-leavers and adult students) would average 850,000. The Government Actuary estimates that, if the number unemployed had been 100,000 less than this, the deficit would have been about £115 million smaller. The level of unemployment will be taken into account with other factors when contribution levels for 1976–77 are reviewed later this year.
House adjourned at twenty five minutes before ten o'clock.