HC Deb 22 May 1946 vol 423 cc401-5
Mr. Lindgren

I beg to move, in page 63, line 28, at the beginning, to insert: (1) If on the appointed day regulations under Section one of this Act provide for treating as employed contributor's employments employments outside Great Britain prescribed by those regulations, then regulations under this Subsection may provide for the insurance under this Act as from the appointed day of persons not so insured by virtue of any other provision of this Act, who—

  1. (a) are on that day—
    1. (i) over school leaving age and under pensionable age; and
    2. 402
    3. (ii) gainfully occupied in any such employment; and
  2. (b) fulfil such conditions as may be prescribed as to residence in Great Britain before the appointed day."
This addition to Clause 71 arises from an Amendment which was placed on the Order Paper by the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor), who was good enough to write to me to explain why he had put down his Amendment. I should like to express the gratitude of my right hon. Friend for the manner in which that case was put to us. It is a case of very great substance and one which, now that it has been put to us, we are only too delighted to meet.

As hon. 'Members will appreciate, it is possible under the Bill for persons who have created insurance' rights within this country to maintain them if they go abroad, but where a person was resident abroad and, although employed in association with a company which had offices in this country, had no insurance rights here, it would not be possible for that person to establish insurance rights without coming back to this country and establishing a residential qualification. The words on the Order Paper give such persons who are now insured, or who would have been insured if they had been in this country, the right to become insured persons under the Bill, provided that their employers had offices in this country and that they themselves would normally have been domiciled here. The Clause does not deal with self-employed or non-employed persons, who are very difficult to handle abroad as they have been in this country, but we have made a concession in regard to a case which was also put to us by the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield in connection with those persons. It is the intention of my right hon. Friend to provide by regulation facilities for such persons, if they return to this country within a given period from the appointed day — say two years, although the actual time is not yet decided —to become insured and to assume contribution rights by back payment to the appointed day. Such back payment will, of course,, only secure them rights in regard to the future and would not affect any benefit to which they would have been entitled during the period itself. In brief, this new addition to Clause 71 is to entitle persons abroad, employed by a company with offices in this country or by a person who is resident in this country, if those persons would normally have been domiciled here, to come into insurance in exactly the same way as persons who have established rights in this country and have gone 'abroad. I hope that the House will accept this Amendment, I again thank the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield.

Sir John Mellor (Sutton Coldfield)

I want only to express my satisfaction with these Amendments. I know that the Parliamentary Secretary has given very careful consideration to this difficult and complicated matter. I am sure that the result will be very helpful to a very large number of people.

Major Digby (Dorset, Western)

I would also express my appreciation of, the remarks of the Parliamentary Secretary. The concession will benefit many persons who are taking part in the export drive. Nevertheless, there are doubts in my mind as to the implications of what the hon. Gentleman said about the two year period. People who go outside Great Britain may not know for how long they are going. They may go for one year or for five. Is it the case that a person who goes away for more than two years will be unable to come into this scheme on the same terms as people. who are here? Many people will want to qualify for benefit when they come back to this country. That is important. I should be very grateful if I might have information on the point.

Mr. Lindgren

In my desire to be brief I could not have made my remarks as clear as I intended them to be. Persons now resident abroad and who have no insurance qualifications cannot come under the Bill. The Amendments will give to persons employed abroad the right to come into the scheme. It will still leave outside insurance persons resident abroad, whether self-employed or non-employed, but they can secure insurance rights when they return to this country. at any time.

Major Digby

Even after five years?

Mr. Lindgren

After five years. The intention of the Bill was that all persons abroad upon the appointed day should establish rights when they returned to this country by a period of residential qualification. The intention is by Regulation to give assistance to those self-employed and non-employed persons who are abroad, if they return to this country within a period after the appointed day. The Minister is prepared to receive representations on this matter from persons who are interested, but it is his present intention that that period should be somewhere in the region of two years. Within that period after the appointed day such persons will have the option not only to establish minimum rights but to back-date two years, in order to secure title to pension.

Amendment agreed to

Further Amendments made:

In page 63, line 35. leave out "provisions," and insert "sections."

In page 63 line 43, leave out "This section," and insert "The last foregoing subsection:'

In page 65, line 2, leave out "This section," and insert "The last but one foregoing subsection "

In page 65, line 4, leave out "subsection (1) of this section," and insert "That subsection."—[Mr. Lindgren.]

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.