Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Seventh Report


Memorandum by HM Treasury

Social Security (Contributions) (Amendment) Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/45)
Social Security (Contributions) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland)
Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/46)

1. In a letter dated 30 January 2001 from the Commons Clerk to the Joint Committee a memorandum is requested on the following point

    "The Department in a memorandum dated 31 October 2000, informed the Committee that they hoped to consolidate the Social Security (Contributions) Regulations 1979 and the Social Security (Contributions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1979 before Christmas 2000. What progress has been made with the consolidation?"

2. A first proof of the consolidated Regulations was delivered on 11 January 2001. Two further amending instruments, containing, amongst other things pre-consolidation amendments are expected to be made within the next fortnight. These are prospectively the Social Security (Contributions) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2001 and the Social Security (Contributions) (Amendment No. 2) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2001 ("the Amendment No. 2 Regulations") although the numbering may change if an up-rating instrument is made first. In addition to corrections of errors and other minor changes these instruments will align to a far greater extent the treatment of payments for the purposes of liability to income tax contributions.

3. The Social Security Advisory Committee, in accordance with an informal agreement between the Inland Revenue and the Committee in 1999 is currently considering the Amendment No. 2 Regulations. Their observations are anticipated next week. As soon as the Inland Revenue has their observations, it will make such adjustments as may be necessary to the text of the Amendment No. 2 Regulations. Those instruments should be made within the next fortnight, coming into force on 6 April 2001 for most purposes. The consolidation instrument (incorporating those amendments) will be made towards the end of February and will come into force later on 6 April 2001.

4. It is appreciated that the process of consolidation has taken longer than was anticipated in the Memorandum submitted in October. Three factors, have contributed to the delay—

      (a)  the extent of the work necessary to achieve, so far as possible, the alignment mentioned in paragraph 1;

      (b)  incorporating the material relating to Northern Ireland; and

      (c)  consulting the Social Security Advisory Committee in respect of some proposals for pre-consolidation amendments.

5. The largest factor in the delay has been the alignment amendments. However, colleagues in Northern Ireland were also hard pressed because of the need to comment on other instruments whilst considering the text of the pre-consolidation regulations and of the consolidation itself. The delay is regretted, but it was felt better to incorporate the alignment amendments in the consolidation rather than make regulations and immediately amend them.

5 February 2001

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