§ Mr. Webb
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what has been the policy since 1989 on writing annually to those of her Department's staff who are paying reduced rates of National Insurance contributions, reminding them of the rules governing the payment of reduced rates, as recommended in the Inland Revenue guidance note on reduced rate National Insurance contributions for married women. 
§ Clare Short
The Pay and Personnel Agency (PPA), which is an Agency of the Ministry of Defence, has been the payroll provider for the Department for International Development since October 1995.
The PPA relies upon checking systems at the employee's place of work, the Agency pay office and within computer systems to identify and act upon any changes of circumstances which affect the continuing payment of reduced rate National Insurance contributions. These systems were subjected to an audit in March 1998 by Inland Revenue and Department of Social Security personnel, which included a 100 per cent. check of all staff then paying reduced rates of contributions. No problems were identified with the systems operations.
It is not the current practice of the PPA or DFID to write annually to officers paying reduced rates of National Insurance contributions.