§ (1) At the end of Sub-section (1) of Section ninety-five of the principal Act the following proviso shall be added:—
§ Provided that if at the time when contributions first became payable in respect of any workman under this Part of this Act he was over the age of fifty-five, the number of weeks in respect of which contributions are required to be paid by him in order to entitle him or his representatives to such repayments as aforesaid shall be reduced by fifty weeks for every year or part of a year by which his age at that time exceeded fifty-five.
§ (2) At the end of the same Section, the following Sub-section shall be added:—
§ (3) Where a workman has received a repayment under this Section, and has paid further contributions under this Part of this Act, he shall be en- 1704 titled to a further repayment in accordance with the Section if the number of such further contributions exceeds one hundred, and in the case of his death his representatives shall be entitled to such further repayments whatever may be the number of such further contributions.
§ Clause brought up, and read the first time.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. J. M. Robertson)
I beg to move "that the Clause be read a second time."
This Clause has been put down as the result of an Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Salisbury. It does not do exactly what he asks, because on investigating the case we found that a real grievance did exist in another respect in the case of workmen who may enter into insurance so late in life, that a hardship arises in respect of the refund that is paid under Clause 95 to workmen on attaining the age of sixty. It was realised that workmen coming in after the age of fifty-five are under a hardship in this respect, that they could not easily qualify for a refund of the contribution. This Clause proposes that for every complete year the workman attains after the age of fifty-five there shall be a deduction of fifty from the number of 500 contributions required to qualify him for a refund. That is, a man coming in towards the age of fifty-eight will require 350 contributions to qualify for the refund. With regard to the closing part of the new Clause, I may say that under the first provision workmen entering after fifty-five would be entitled to a refund of everything paid at the age of sixty-five. The provision here made regulates the refunds that may be made in respect of subsequent contributions after that age. The Clause is not exactly what was asked for by the hon. Member, but it meets a real grievance, and I hope the House will give it a Second Beading.
§ Mr. WATSON
I would like some little explanation with regard to the application of this Clause. If a workman entered at the age of 65, just on the passing of the principal Act, would he under the passing of this Act, under this Clause at once be able to apply for repayment under Section 95 of the principal Act of the portion of his contribution, less deduction provided 1705 by Section 95, and would he thereafter, as soon as he had completed his further 100 payments, be again entitled to apply for repayment of his portion of those 100 payments? What I wish to get at is whether on the passing of this Act it is retrospective as regards the contribution paid between the date when the workman first came under the principal Act and the date of the passing of this Act.
§ Mr. ROBERTSON
I take it that it will be retrospective in respect of the new qualification, but only in respect of that.
§ Mr. WATSON
Let me make the point quite clear. Take the case of a workman who, in 1911, came under the Act at the age of sixty-five and who is now sixty-eight. Do I understand the hon. Gentleman aright, if this Clause is passed, that no relief would be available for that workman in respect of those contributions between the first time he came under the Act and the date of the passing of this Act, under Section 95?
Mr. TYSON WILSON
I have in mind a case which bears out that put by the hon. Gentleman opposite—the case of a man who came under the Act at the age of 69, as soon as it came into operation. He has paid his contributions, and what will be his position?
§ Mr. ROBERTSON
I think he will be entitled to come under the provision as regards 100 contributions. Is the point of the hon. Member for South Lanark (Mr. Watson) that the man would be entitled to get back his contributions as often as he paid them?
§ Mr. WATSON
Let me put it again. Say the workman in 1911 started paying contributions. Those contributions, his having paid three years, would now amount to 150. When this Clause is passed, as he has not paid 500 contributions, he is not entitled to repayment under Section 95. As soon as this Clause is passed, I gather that the effect of it will be that, having come in at the age of sixty-five, the whole 500 minimum principle is wiped away; and, therefore, I ask the hon. Gentleman whether, on the passing of this Act, that workman is entitled to claim repayment of the 150 contributions, less any benefit he has received, and interest, under the terms of Section 95.
§ Mr. WATSON
Having got that, and having thereafter continued to contribute another 100, is he entitled, on completing those 100 contributions, to again reclaim them, and so on, in respect of each subsequent 100 contributions.
§ Clause read a second time, and added to the Bill.