§ 90. Mr. HORE-BELISHA
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that there are large numbers of dockyard men between the ages of 63 and 65 who, having paid contributions under the National Health Insurance Act, 1912, a period of about 10 years, when discharged on the age limit from His Majesty's dockyard ceased contributions under the National Health Insurance Act because of their reduced means and because they were unable to foresee the award of pensions at the age of 65; and whether, in view of the fact that these men, together with their dependants, are consequently disqualified from receiving benefit under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, he will state if they can now satisfy the terms of the Act and come within its benefits by contributing for a qualifying period?
§ Sir K. WOOD
My right hon. Friend is aware of the position described, but I would point out that these ex-Government employés are in the same position as employés of private firms who have retired before reaching the age when contributions cease to be payable. By reason of their age at the date when the Contributory Pensions Act came into force, they would, if they became voluntary contributors, be unable to satisfy the statutory conditions for pensions. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.
§ Mr. HORE-BELISHA
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the distinction between these employés and private employés is that they have to retire at the age of 60 and are therefore in an adverse position?
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
Before the hon. Gentleman replies to that question, and in view of a great deal of difficulty arising in this connection in relation to the cases 1857 mentioned by my hon. Friend in his question, will the Parliamentary Secretary see if some Regulation can be issued to enlighten these individuals as to their position?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I am afraid the issue of Regulations would not assist them very much, and if anything is to be done it would mean an alteration of the law. As both my hon. Friends are aware, this matter was very fully discussed when the Bill was in Committee.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
is the Minister considering the possibility of introducing new legislation to provide for the difficult cases which have arisen?
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Is the Parliamentary Secretary still in a position to issue for the benefit of Members a list of the Regulations made and certain exceptional diseases that have been taken into consideration, so that we shall all be in a better position to understand the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act than we are at the present moment?
§ Sir K. WOOD
That is another matter, and the hon. Member bad better put his question down on the Paper.