71. MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
asked whether gillies who are their own employers and voluntary contributors can pay less than 7d. a week when unemployed in any one week in which they contribute under the provisions of the National Insurance Act; if so, what is the amount of their contribution; and whether the definite statement that they can contribute less in these circumstances, made by the Financial Secretary on 22nd November, 1911, is correct?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. Any weekly contribution which is 2055 paid must be a full-contribution. For voluntary contributors below 45 years of age entering into insurance before the 15th of January, 1913, the weekly rate is 7d., and for persons above that age it increases gradually to a maximum of 1s. 3½d. in the case of persons entering insurance at the age of 64 years. I think if the Noble Lord will refer again to the statement to which he alludes he will see that there is nothing in it which is inconsistent with what I have just stated. A voluntary contributor, when he pays a contribution, must pay the full amount due, but if he is unable to pay a contribution every week he will not on that account be excluded from benefits.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will convey that answer to the Liberal speakers in Scotland, and may I also ask him if the Financial Secretary's statement I referred to is not capable of being read both ways?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
It was a perfectly clear statement, though I can understand that to some persons it might have another meaning.