HC Deb 18 November 1947 vol 444 c952
2. Miss Bacon

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he is satisfied that the operation of the retirement provision is working fairly and satisfactorily in the case of those women who are housekeepers to elderly people where the home of their employer is the only home they have.

Mr. J. Griffiths

The interpretation of the retirement provisions of the National Insurance Act, 1946, is a matter for the independent statutory authorities. There is considerable variety in the circumstances of the comparatively few cases of the type referred to which have so far been decided by the umpire, and it should be borne in mind that the full retirement pension provisions of the Act are not yet in operation. I am watching the operation of the retirement provisions carefully, but it would be premature for me to express any opinion at this stage on the point raised.

Miss Bacon

Is the Minister aware that many of these women are working for people in very poor circumstances, and that such women cannot very well retire and will never retire? Will he look further into the matter to see if something can be done for what he says is a very small class?

Mr. Griffiths

I am sure my hon. Friend will appreciate my difficulty in these cases. This work, which is deemed not to rank for retirement pension, is work on which contributions have to be paid for pensions. I am not happy about the position and I am looking into it. It is a difficult problem and I shall try a better way of dealing with it.

Mr. Rankin

Is my right hon. Friend's answer strictly limited to those who are housekeepers to elderly persons, or does it include all women who are housekeepers?

Mr. Griffiths

My difficulty is to distinguish between the two. That is what creates the problem, and that is why I am looking into it.